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Nicola Crossley

Nicola Crossley photo - woman with brown hair wearing a blue and white top

Presenter affiliation(s)/organisation(s):

Director of Inclusion, Astrea Academy Trust and Associate Tutor, Leeds Beckett University

A research graduate from the University of Exeter, Nic is currently Director of Inclusion for Astrea, a Multi Academy Trust of 27 schools across South Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire. In this role she works with schools to enhance the learning experience for all vulnerable learners, but particularly those who are disadvantaged and/or have SEND. Her special interest areas are Autism and SEMH and she is passionate about improving provision in these areas.

Her research interests include: the impact of government reform on teacher conceptualisations of professionalism through the lens of critical discourse analysis; factors which contribute to academic underachievement in children of compulsory school age in England; and enhancing inclusive practice across groups of schools.

Nic is a Chartered Educational Assessor and Fellow of the CIEA (Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors), the National SEN representative for ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders) and Chair of ASCL’s Women Leaders’ Network Group.

Recent Publications

Crossley, N and Hewitt, D (2021) Inclusion: A Principled Guide for School Leaders (London, Routledge)

Crossley, N (2020) Closing the Opportunity Gap for Learners with SEND Beyond the Pandemic (London, Queen Street Group) Available at:

Crossley, N (2015) Being Held to Account for Pupil Premium (Primary Teacher Update, MA Education Ltd) Available at:

Session title:

Making the most of research opportunities in schools

Abstract/brief summary:

In this keynote, Nicola will share with delegates her experience of research, briefly touching on how she balanced her doctoral research with a full-time senior leadership role in school.

The main focus of the session; however, is to highlight the research opportunities available in schools and suggest ways in which teachers can successfully engage in research which are both manageable and beneficial to all.