Staff Profiles

Dr David Colley

Senior Lecturer in Child Development and SEN/Inclusion

School of Education

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr David Colley

Phone number: +44 (0)1865 488520



Dr David Colley is a Senior Lecturer in Child Development and Special Educational Needs/Inclusion at Oxford Brookes University and leads the Masters level training for teachers wishing to secure the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (NASENCo) in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

David’s experience includes 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 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.

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 will be presenting his latest research findings regarding best practice in Secondary school nurture groups at the 2019 ENSEC International Conference in Budapest, Hungary.