School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Professor Liz Todd

Prof of Educational Inclusion


Liz Todd MA MSc PGCE PhD CPsychol is Professor of Educational Inclusion at Newcastle University.  Liz engages in research with a strong social justice agenda, being known for her work on the interaction between communities and schools, the engagement of young people in development and research, and respectful democratic approaches to change (personal and organisational).  

For the last 14 years she has directed many funded projects looking at community orientated and extended schooling. Liz Todd directed Newcastle University’s successful REF2014 submission for education and also its successful 2008RAE submission.

Liz is Director of Newcastle University’s Institute for Social Science.

Her 2007 monograph published by Routledge, 'Partnerships for inclusive education: A critical approach to collaborative working', was nominated for the 2007 NASEN/TES academic book prize. This book looks at what gets in the way of some of the key areas of collaboration that schools and services try to develop: multi-agency working; parent partnership; and the involvement of children and young people.

She is co-author of three other monographs, all of them the first books on their topics to be published in the UK. One, with Alan Dyson and Colleen Cummings, published by Routledge called 'Beyond the School Gates', is on the role of schools in tackling disadvantage. It is a Prize winner, highly commended, by the Society of Education Studies in 2012. The other, with Hilary Kennedy and Mim Landor, is the first UK book on Video Interaction Guidance. The most recent if again with Hilary Kennedy and Mim Landor, is the first UK book on Video Enhanced Reflective Practice. Prof Todd is, with Melanie Nind, co-editor of the International Journal of Research and Method in Education, one of the only journals that focuses on innovation in the full range of educational research methods. She is a member of the ESRC review college.

Liz is a board member of Research in Practice, and Research in Practice for Adults. She is a Trustee of the West End Schools Trust in Newcastle. She is a Council member of the British Educational Research Association. Liz is co-coordinator of the inclusive education network of the European Educational Research Association.

Liz Todd actively maintains her educational psychologist's skills, by training people in and using directly democratic approaches that can be used to bring change to people's lives. Narrative therapy re-stories identity, and video interaction guidance uses the collaborative review of video clips of successful interaction to bring change in the connection between people. She uses these approaches with individuals, families, and professionals working in (mostly) school settings. Liz delivers courses on each of these approaches every year. Liz plays an active role in the Association of VIG UK.

Liz Todd is regularly asked to contribute to national and international conferences. She has been asked to contribute expertise to the governing authorities in Amsterdam on the development of extended schools, to the schools and colleges in Catalonia on theory of change in the evaluation of educational interventions, and on child involvement in research to the Master Class in Children's Rights at University Institute Kurt Bosch, Sion.


Liz Todd joined Newcastle University 1994, having worked abroad in Fiji for 3 years lecturing in critical educational psychology at the University of the South Pacific, training teachers from 13 different pacific island countries, and delivering in-country workshops. She has worked in the roles of market trader, researcher, maths teacher, parent advocate, lecturer, therapist and educational psychologist.

Prof Todd has always been drawn to community practices that help people to act in ways that are in line with their values and with ideas of justice. She likes to find out, research and be part of such practices. In her own professional training one of her placements was in Edinburgh with Jimmy Boyle, the Glaswegian gang member who had served a sentence for murder and who had, on release, set up a community project, run by the community, to help people coming out of prison, and those dealing with issues of drug dependency and mental health problems. She was particularly interested in the facilitation of non-professional solutions to the problems of those attending the project. 


  • PhD in Education, MSc in Educational Psychology,  PGCE (Primary/Middle Years),  MA Psychology

Previous posts

  • Lecturer in educational psychology: University of the South Pacific
  • Educational psychologist: Northumberland LA, North Tyneside LA and Sunderland LA
  • Parent partnership office: North Tyneside LA 
  • Mathematics teacher: St Pauls school, Haywards Heath, W. Sussex
  • Research assistant: Inner London Education Authority 


  • Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society
  • Membership of Health Professions Council as a practicing Educational Psychologist
  • Council Member of the British Education Research Association
  • Trustee British Educational Research Association
  • Board Member Research in Practice


English and French

Other interests

Cycling, allotment, Woodcraft folk, weaving & sculpture, singing


Current Research

  • A three year evaluation (2013-6) of the 'Thinking Differently' programme, managed by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 3 innovative projects about young people and alcohol in Scotland, funded by Children in Need, Comic Relief, JRF, The Robertson Trust, The Tudor Trust and The Scottish Government. This research uses theory of change to investigate whether the projects are successful in engaging with young people as collaborators in changing alcohol cultures in peers, families and the community.
  • An investigation of the link between out of school activities and the education gap, 3years, funded by Nuffield with NatCen. We are analysing data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to ascertain what activities some 7,000 children have taken part in, and linking that to their attainment records on the National Pupil Database and to theories of change, and validating the theories of change with qualitative data.

I have a continuing interest in the development of tools to help the process of change in communities and individuals, using two approaches: narrative practices and video interaction and guidance. Some of the projects, both on-going and competed last year, include:

  • University-funded project developing the use of narrative practices to assist resilience building amongst communities. Liz Todd and Marilyn O'Neill (Sydney Narrative Therapy Centre). Oct 2013 – on-going. Activities in 2015 included narrative training for: teams undergoing change on developing resilience in teams.
  • Co-editor with Hilary Kennedy and Mim Landor of the first book on Video Enhanced Reflection on Practice (VERP), published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in 2015. This is a highly reputed relationship-based intervention that focuses on attunement and collaboration in the development and enhancement of professional practice. 

Current Roles

Director Newcastle University Institute for Social Science

Recent Past Research

  • Evaluation of Pupil Premium funded by the Department for Education, 2012-3, with Karen Laing and colleagues Alan Dyson and Kirstin Kerr at Manchester University and Hannah Carpenter at TNS-BMRB
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation funded review of evidence on 'Interventions in aspirations and attitudes: influencing educational attainment'. A multi-disciplinary research team: Prof Liz Todd, Colleen Cummings, Dr Elaine Hall, Pam Woolner, Prof James Law (from speech), Dr Janice McLaughlan (sociologist, director of PEALS) and Dr Ivy Papps (economist from Tecis Ltd). October 2010 - July 2011.
  • A review of Early language Delays in the UK funded by Save the Children (with Prof James Law)


  • Membership of 'Investing in Children' (Quality Mark) 2013 as a result of the quality of involvement of young people in a number of research projects in 2012
  • Prize winner highly commended by the Society of Educational Studies, Nov 2012 for: Cummings, C., Dyson, A., and Todd, L. (2011) Beyond the School Gates: can full service and extended schools overcome disadvantage? Routledge.
  • Shortlist (in top 4) for NASEN/TES Academic Book Prize 2007 for sole author monograph published by Routledge, 2007: Partnerships for Inclusive Education: A critical approach to collaborative working.
  • Co-editor International Journal of Research and Method in Education.

Most recent projects

An evaluation of the Thinking Differently approach to young people and alcohol

Funded by Joseph Rowntree, Project Leader: Prof Liz Todd


Out of school activity and the education gap

Funded by Nuffield with NatCen, Newcastle project Leader: Prof Liz Todd


Can changing aspirations and attitudes impact on educational attainment? A review of interventions.

Funded by JRF, project leader Liz Todd


An Evaluation of the DfES Full Service Extended Schools (FSES) Initiative
Funded by the DfES, project leader(s): Alan Dyson and Liz Todd


An evaluation of Pupil Premium 2013

Funded by the DfE, Project leaders: Liz Todd and Alan Dyson (Manchester University)



Postgraduate Teaching

  • Degree Programme Director of the doctorate in educational psychology (DEdPsy).
  • Teaching and supervision on the both the DEdPsy and the professional educational psychology doctorate (DAppEdPsy).
  • Teaching on modules in qualitative research (qualitative data analysis, researching children and young people, participative research, visual methodology, theory of change)
  • Teaching on particular therapeutic practices: narrative therapy and video interaction and guidance.
  • A number of teaching sessions relating to research in extended schools, parent partnership, multi-agency working and consultation with children.

Postgraduate Supervision

Selected successful doctorate submissions over the last few years:

Lee Wilkinson, PhD, 2003; Charmian Hobbs, DEdPsy Thesis, Oct 2005; Dennis Wilson, EdD Thesis, 2005; Barry Hymer, DEdPsy Thesis, 2007; Nathalie Fletcher, DEdPsy Thesis, 2008; Alan Haughey, DEdPsy Thesis, 2008; Liz Locke, DEdPsy Thesis, 2009; Claire Camsey DAppEdPsy Thesis 2009; Denise McCarten DAppEdPsy Thesis 2009; Geraldine Jones DEdPsy thesis 2009; Pam Grandison DEdPsy thesis 2010; Debra Brewer DEdPsy thesis 2010; Linda Corlette DEdPsy thesis 2010; Katherine Parker DAppEdPsy Thesis 2011; Katie Gibson DAppEdPsy Thesis 2011; Patricia Murray DEdPsy 2012; Wilma Barrow DEdPsy thesis 2012; Philomena Keane DAppEdPsy Thesis 2012; Katherine Philips DAppEdPsy Thesis 2012; Jane Gould DEdPsy thesis 2012; Laura McCullam 2013; Maeve Gold 2013; Janet Crawford 2013; Sarah-Jane Wooton 2013; Katrina Heywood 2014; Joanne Buntin 2014; John Jamieson 2015; Ruth Prested 2015.

Topics have included the following:

  • Ruth Prested – Creating Moments of Democracy Through Video Interaction Guidance: A Participatory Exploration of Perceived Challenging Behaviour
  • Joanne Buntin – Making connections through the ‘other’. An exploration of mutuality between parents and teachers.
  • Debra Brewer - Storying Lunchtimes - What is the lunchtime supervisors' story of lunchtime
  • Denise McCartan - Using Video to Promote the Development of a Collaborative Approach between Parents and Teachers around Pupil Behaviour
  • Claire Camsey - Reconsidering the Concept of Resilience: A study of the ways some care experienced young people understand their lives
  • Charmian Hobbs - Professional Consultation with Pupils Through Teaching about Learning
  • Liz Locke - ‘We can do it together’ An investigation into multi-disciplinary team meeting in schools where a solution focused approach is used.