Rachel Hewett

Rachel Hewett

School of Education
Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

Address
School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Rachel Hewett is a Birmingham Fellow based in Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR) based in Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) in the School of Education.

She joined VICTAR as a Research Associate in 2010, before progressing to a Research Fellow in October 2012 and was appointed as a Birmingham Fellow in September 2017. Previously she worked in Clinical Trials, and managed a series of large phase-three trials at Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit at University of Birmingham.

Rachel’s primary research interests are in the post-16 transition experience of young people with special educational needs and disabilities. She acts as the primary researcher on the ongoing ‘Longitudinal Transitions Study’ which has been following the post-16 transition experience of a group of young people with vision impairment since 2010. Through her doctoral study she has focused particularly on the experiences of young people with vision impairment in making the transition into Higher Education.

Rachel has been PI and Co-I on research projects funded by various funding bodies, including Nuffield Foundation, RNIB, Thomas Pocklington Trust, and NatSIP.

Qualifications

  • MSc in Applied Statistics, Sheffield Hallam University, 2011
  • MA in Social Research, University of Birmingham, 2004
  • BSc (Hons) in Economics, University of Birmingham, 2003

Teaching

Rachel contributes to teaching on research methods and also to the development of professional development courses in vision impairment. She is also a member of the University of Birmingham Inclusive Curriculum Committee.

Research

Rachel’s research to date has focused primarily on post-16 transitions and employment outcomes for young people with vision impairment. Her doctoral study has been on the experiences of young people with vision impairment making the transition into higher education.

A particular focus of her work centres on the dissemination of research findings and maximising the impact of the ongoing research in VICTAR.

Longitudinal Transition Study

ENABLER project

Secondary data analysis of the UK Labour Force Survey to investigate the economic activity of people with vision impairment

An investigation into the accessibility of the Apple iPad for users with vision impairment through an N-of-1 RCT design

Impact activities

NatSIP Higher Education Resources

Rachel has been contracted by NatSIP to develop guidance materials to help improve the transition outcomes of young people with vision impairment into Higher Education. Resources for young people are available on the Royal National Institute of Blind People website (http://www.rnib.org.uk/young-people/starting-university) and resources for professionals are available on the NatSIP website (https://www.natsip.org.uk/doc-library-login/16-25-years/1424-suppporting-the-achievement-of-learners-with-vision-impairment-in-higher-education). 

ESRC-Impact Accelerator Award

Rachel has been awarded funding to pilot and evaluate a series of HE resources aimed at improving the transition experience of young people with vision impairment into HE with students, specialist teachers and HE professionals.

She was previously funded by an ESRC-IAA award for a secondment at Royal National Institute of Blind People. The purpose of this award was to work with RNIB to develop resources to help professional support young people with visual impairment through various post-16 transitions and to improve their outcomes.

Publications

Peer reviewed articles

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., McLinden, M. & Keil S. (2018) Balancing inclusive design, adjustments and personal agency: progressive mutual accommodations and the experiences of university students with vision impairment in the United Kingdom, International Journal of Inclusive Educationhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13603116.2018.1492637

McLinden, M., Ravenscroft, J., Douglas, G., Hewett, R. and Cobb, R. (2017) The Significance of Specialist Teachers of Learners with Visual Impairments as Agents of Change: Examining Personnel Preparation in the United Kingdom through a Bioecological Systems Theory. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. Volume 111, 6, pp. 569-584. 

McLinden, M., Douglas, G., Hewett, R.,Cobb, R., & Lynch, P. (2017). Facilitating Participation in Education: The Distinctive Role of the Specialist Teacher in Supporting Learners with Vision Impairment in Combination with Severe and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research, 7(2).

Hewett, R. (2017) Recruiting and Retaining Participants in a Longitudinal Qualitative Study. Sage Open. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526411112

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., McLinden, M. & Keil, S. (2017) Developing an inclusive learning environment for students with visual impairment in higher education: progressive mutual accommodation and learner experiences in the United Kingdom. European Journal of Special Needs Education. 32:1, 89-109. DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2016.1254971

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., Keil, S. (2016) The importance of self-advocacy skills: ‘This is what I can do, and these are the adjustments I require’. Paper presented to WBU-ICEVI Joint Assembly, Orlando, August 2016. 

McLinden, M., Douglas, G., Cobb, R., Hewett, R. and Ravenscroft, J. (2016) Access to learning’ and ‘learning to access’: Analysing the distinctive role of specialist teachers of children and young people with vision impairments in facilitating curriculum access through an ecological systems theory. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 34, pp 177-195, DOI:10.1177/0264619616643180 

Hewett, R., and Douglas, G. (2015) Inclusive Design: It’s impact on young people with vision impairment. Journal on Technology& Persons with Disabilities. Vol 3. pp 277-290. http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/151201

Douglas, G., Hewett, R. (2014) Views of independence and readiness for employment amongst young people with visual impairments in the UK. The Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counselling. Vol. 20 (2). pp 81 - 99.DOI is http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jrc.2014.12 

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., Keil, S. (2014) Post-16 transition experience of visually impaired young people in England and Wales: Early findings from a longitudinal study. British Journal of Visual Impairment, Vol. 32 (3), pp. 211-222. DOI: 10.1177/0264619614535374

Hewett, R., Ellis, L., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2014) Vision, Accessing Information and Accessing Benefits: Technical report of findings to December 2013. Birmingham. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, School of Education, University of Birmingham 

Hewett, R., Torgerson, C., Douglas, G. (2014) Accessibility of Apple iPad for partially sighted users: pilot study. Journal of Assistive Technologies, Vol. 8 (1), pp. 2-13. DOI: 10.1108/JAT-09-2013-0029

Project reports for expernal bodies

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2017) Transition to Adulthood: The views and experiences of blind and partially sighted young people transitioning into adulthood in the UK. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2017) The Transition Experiences of Young People with Visual Impairments aged 19-22. Technical report of findings to September 2016. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2017) Reflections of Transition Experiences by Young People with Visual Impairments aged 19-22: Technical report of findings to April 2016. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S (2016) Transition to adulthood: Final summary report for project “Longitudinal study of transitions experiences of blind and partially sighted young people (Phase 2)”. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., with Keil, S. (2015) Investigation of data relating to blind and partially sighted people in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey: October 2012 – September 2015. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., and Keil, S. (2015) Secondary analysis of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) EU disability module. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., with Keil, S. (2015) Investigation of data relating to blind and partially sighted people in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey: October 2011 – September 2014. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Keil, S., and Douglas, G. (2015a) Summary Report: Experiences of blind and partially sighted young people as they make the transition into Higher Education, Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Keil, S., and Douglas, G. (2015b) Experiences of blind and partially sighted young people as they make the transition into Higher Education, Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2015a) Longitudinal Transitions Study of Young People with Visual Impairments: Methodology Summary. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2015b) The Transition Experiences of Young People with Visual Impairments aged 17-21. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2015c) Wellbeing of Young People with Visual Impairments. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2015d) Support and Information received by Young People with Visual Impairments: Technical report of findings October 2014 to February 2015. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2015e) Young People with Visual Impairments Transitioning into Independent Living: Technical report of findings October 2014 to February 2015. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Ellis, L., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2014) Vision, Accessing Information and Accessing Benefits. Technical report of findings to December 2013. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R (2014) Investigation of data relating to blind and partially sighted people in the quarterly Labour Force Survey: October 2010 to September 2013, March 2014. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham.

Douglas, G., Hewett, R., McLinden, M. and Heyberi, E. (2013). The use of Apple iPads amongst Trainee Teachers of Visually Impaired Students – an exploratory survey. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham.

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Keil, S. (2013) Young people's progress and views of independence aged 16-19: Post 14 transitions support. Technical report of findings to December 2012, June 2013. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham.

Hewett, R (2013) Investigation of data relating to blind and partially sighted people in the quarterly Labour Force Survey: October 2009 to September 2012, April 2013. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham.

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., Ramli, A., and Keil, S. (2012) Post-14 transitions – A survey of the social activity and social networking of blind and partially sighted young people: Technical Report, February 2012. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham.

Hewett, R., Douglas, G., and Williams, H. (2011) Post-14 transitions support – a survey on the transition experience of visually impaired young people: Technical Report. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham 

Hewett, R, Douglas, G (2011) Investigation of data relating to blind and partially sighted people in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Birmingham. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, School of Education, University of Birmingham

Hewett, R., Douglas, G. (2010) Post-14 transition support – a survey of visiting teacher services for blind and partially sighted students. Birmingham. Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, School of Education, University of Birmingham 

Other publications

Hewett, R., and Douglas, G. (2011). Student experiences after compulsory education. Insight Magazine, Autumn.

Keil, S., and Hewett, R. (2017) Reflections of school: young people with vision impairment speak out. Insight Magazine, May 2017 

Hewett, R., Keil, S., and Taylor, J. (2016) Starting University, RNIB available at: http://www.rnib.org.uk/young-people/starting-university