School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Professor Simon Gibbs

Professor of Inclusive Educational Psychology and Philosophy



My initial professional experience of education was as a Maths teacher working in comprehensive schools and, briefly, a secondary modern school. It was there I saw at first hand the effects on children and staff of the arbitrary labelling of children who had 'failed' the 11 plus. My subsequent training and career as an Educational Psychologist stimulated interests in children's development, how children acquire the skills that are required for reading, and how the beliefs and attributions of teachers are involved in the way children's learning is structured and managed. Along the way I have been fortunate to have worked with many brilliant and interesting people. These have helped me gain experience of how to facilitate learning, organisational development and leadership.

These issues continue to underpin my professional and academic interests. My primary aim is to improve children's experiences of education. This is underpinned by the question: 'What do we need to do to help young people (especially) become human beings who can be with, cooperate with, respect and support each other?' and the necessary corollary missions to promote inclusion and oppose discrimination and segregation. My research activity, therefore, seeks to provide greater understanding of the relationships between educational structures, policies, beliefs and practices that enable / disable teachers from developing inclusive approaches to education and learning. In line with this, with my colleagues in the Doctorate in Applied Educational Psychology team in Newcastle we seek to train applied psychologists for work as agents of positive change in organisations such as schools and with teachers, parents, children, and other professionals.


With a first degree in Pure Maths and Chemistry I taught mathematics in Hertfordshire and Derbyshire for 13 years. While working in Derbyshire I studied Counselling and Human Relations before taking a degree in psychology and qualifying as an Educational Psychologist at Nottingham University. 
On completion of my training I was fortunate to gain a post as an Educational Psychologist in Hartlepool. While there I studied for a PhD under the supervision of Professor David Wood.  From 1997 to 2007 I was  a Senior Educational Psychologist in North Yorkshire.

I started working at Newcastle University in 2000 and was Director of Initial Training in Educational Psychology (the Doctorate in Applied Educational Psychology) from  2007 - 2017. 

Current Roles and Responsibilities

  • Professor of Inclusive Educational Psychology and Philosophy.

Topics of Concern and Research

  • Educational psychology
  • Inclusion
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Teachers' Well-being


  • BSc, (Pure Maths and Chemistry)
  • DipEd (Pastoral Care and Counselling),
  • MEd (Human Relations),
  • MA (Child Psychology, Educational),
  • PhD (Phonological Awareness: Influences and Associates in the Context of the Development of Word Reading in Young Children)'
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


  • Registered Educational Psychologist with the HCPC;
  • BPS (Chartered Educational Psychologist, Associate Fellow);
  • Member of the Association of Educational Psychologists;

Informal Interests

Mountains, reading and music.

Google scholar: Click here.


Research Interests

Teachers' beliefs and wellbeing;

The philosophy and purpose of education;

The effects of categorising and labelling;

Inclusive education;


Current Work

The effects of labelling / categorising children
The role of teachers' attributions and beliefs in influencing inclusion and responses to children's behaviour.

Postgraduate Supervision

I am keen to attract PhD students interested in exploring the nexus of relationships between teachers' beliefs, attributions and practices, and what influences these. There is considerable scope here to develop understanding of how school leadership and school cultures enable / disable teachers, and how these may interact with beliefs in efficacy and resilience.

I am also interested in how teachers approach the task of helping certain notional groups of children (for instance those 'diagnosed' as having 'dyslexia'), the underlying psychological processes implicit in such categorisation and the impact on practice and children's well-being. 

Esteem Indicators

General Editor of Educational and Child Psychology 1996-2017
Associate Member: The Psychology in Education Research Centre, University of York.

in 2017 honoured to receive the British Psychological Society Division of Educational and Child Psychology Award for Outstanding Contributions to Educational Psychology


Postgraduate Teaching