Staff Profiles

Dr David Colley

Associate Lecturer in Child Development and SEN/Inclusion

School of Education

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr David Colley

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Dr David Colley is an Associate Lecturer to the School of Education having worked as a Senior Lecturer in Child Development and Special Educational Needs/Inclusion at Harcourt Hill Campus from 2015-2020.  His current roles at Brookes include supervising Doctoral and Masters level dissertations and undertaking External Examiner roles for doctoral examinations and revalidation events. David is Course Adviser to the SEBDA-Brookes SEMH courses and also acts as a tutor on these Masters level, online Post Graduate Certificate courses in social, emotional  and mental health needs. For more information regarding these courses, please see below:

SEBDA-Brookes Year 1

SEBDA-Brookes Year 2

David holds a B.Sc (Hons) in Psychology, a B.Ed (Hons) with QTS, a Ph.D. in SEND and is he also a member of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

His current research interests include best practice models for nurture groups in secondary schools and the research paper 'An evidence based guide to opening a successful secondary school nurture group' (Colley and Seymour) will be published in the International Journal of Nurture in Education (Vol.7) in July 2021.

Additional collaborative research projects include a two year project to evaluate the impact of setting up five primary nurture groups simultaneously in Oxfordshire (2021-23) plus a a project that evaluates the impact of curriculum changes on the 'emotional security' of learners at the Mulberry Bush School, Oxon.

David’s career in education has included teaching children and young people with autism and complex learning needs in both primary and secondary schools and leading specialist facilities for learners with social, emotional and attachment needs. David spent five years working as the head of primary Pupil Referral Unit before managing a successful nurture group initiative on the Isle of Man for a further five years. During that time, David completed his PhD into the development of nurture groups in secondary schools, including the publication of the Boxall Profile for Young People (Bennathan, Boxall and Colley 2010). 

David's SEND specialism has a focus on the social, emotional and mental health needs of children and young people and in 2017 the book 'Attachment and Emotional Development in the classroom' was published by Jessica Kingsley. This book has been co-edited by David and aims to support beginning teachers on Initial Teacher Training courses in understanding the emotional needs of children who have experienced a difficult start in life.

In 2018 David was invited to work with the Department for Education in Westminster as part of the Steering Group that revised the guidance for schools around the Mental Health and Behaviour of children and young people. This revised guidance now makes reference to the impotance of staff training around attachment and the need to value the wellbeing of staff.

David completed his three year tenure as Chair of the Social Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties Association ( from 2016-2019 and currently sits on the editorial advisory boards for both the Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties journal and the International Journal of Nurture in Education.