Dr Christine Szwed

Dr Christine Szwed

School of Education
Strategic Director of Overseas Programmes ( Dubai )
Reader in Teacher Education and National Teaching Fellow

Contact details

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

Chris is a Reader  in Teacher Education and Deputy head of the department of teacher education leading on teaching and learning. She joined the University  as a lecturer in Primary education and has since held the positions of Director of Studies for ITE and Head of Primary ITE. Her research interests cover the area of special needs and management alongside the area of initial teacher training. She was part of the School of Education team responsible for the DfES Transforming the School Workforce Pathfinder Evaluation Project and is particularly interested in the roles and responsibilities of SEN support staff. Her doctoral thesis evaluated the role of the SENCO in primary schools and she is the programme leader for an innovative teacher training programme based within an outstanding special school alliance. Chris has also supported  the British University in Dubai in setting up their teacher training programme and she is particularly interested in the internationalisation  of programmes .

In June 2015, she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy (HEA); the most prestigious awards for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning.

Listen to her latest podcast: What do we know about educating teachers


  • EdD SEN University of Birmingham
  • MA (Education) University of Coventry
  • Diploma – Counselling in Educational Settings
  • BA (Open University ) English / Education; B.Phil Ed. Difficulties in Learning (University of Birmingham )
  • Certificate in Education (QTS)


Before joining the University Chris held senior management positions in both secondary and primary schools in London and Birmingham. Her particular area of expertise was in supporting children with SEN within mainstream schools. Chris also worked for a large Local Authority for five years in a DfES funded project  as a  project manager undertaking research relating to school/community links in an area of social disadvantage.She then moved on to work in the area of CPD, firstly as  a Director of a Teachers’ Centre and then as a Curriculum Adviser for Primary schools.


Chris’s current position as Deputy Head of Department  involves strategic planning for the area of Initial Teacher Education alongside teaching on the Primary PGCE programme and working in partnership with schools in  the supervision of trainee teachers. She also teaches on the MA Teaching studies programme and supervises both MEd and PHD students.

Chris has been awarded a University of Birmingham Teaching Fellowship for 2013/14 to advance her work with the development of international programmes.


Christine's research interests are:

  • Leadership and  management of SEN within mainstream school
  • International development
  • The roles and responsbilities of SEN support staff
  • The Teacher as professional/ Teacher Development
  • Gender roles within Teacher Education
  • Primary Education

'Current research includes an evaluation of routes into teaching children with SEND. Another project considers the teaching anfd learning experiences of international students on ITE programmes.

Other activities

Chris is the chief external examiner for the Primary PGCE at the University of Exeter and external examiner at Reading University for the MA special education / SENCO pathway. 


Szwed, C. ( 2016) Transnational Higher Education- Linguistic negotiations. Official  proceedings - IAFOR International conference in education, Hawaii  ISSN 2180-1036

Szwed C ( 2015)  The Teaching Excellence Framework - an opportunity for development? - Research Intelligence Issue 128 pp 19-21 BERA 

CA Szwed, L Kadiwal. (2011) Selective cosmopolitanism ‐ a transference study, Comparative Education.

Szwed, C. (2010) Gender balance in ITE - some current perspectives. Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol 36, 3, 303-317

Szwed C. (2007) Remodelling policy and Practice: the challenge for staff working with children with special educational needs, Educational Review, 59, No 2, pp 147-160.

Szwed C. (2007) Reconsidering the role of the primary SENCO- policy, practice and future priorities British Journal of Special Education. 34. No2 pp 96-138

Szwed C (2007) Managing from the Middle: Tensions and Dilemmas in the role of the Primary SENCO  School leadership and management   27. 5 pp 437-451

Szwed C., F Jones, K Jones (2001). The SENCO as Teacher and Manager, London, David Fulton, ISBN: 1853467138.

AC Lance, SG Rayner, and Szwed CA ( 2007) Challenging and changing role boundaries in Modernising schools: people, learning and organisations, London, Continuum.

EA Potts, SG Powers, SG Rayner, RJD Rutherford, ID Selwood, CA Szwed et al (2004.) The Evaluation of the Transforming the School Workforce Pathfinder Project, Department for Education and Skills. Research Report 541, London, DfES