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Dr Helen Woodley

Senior Lecturer

Department: Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Helen joined Northumbria in 2018 after working as a teacher. She is a former SENCo who spent the majority of her career working in Alternative Provision and Specialist settings. Her doctoral thesis was based on her experiences working with a KS1 and KS2 class of pupils who were either at risk of, or who had experienced,  permanent exclusion from mainstream schooling. 

Helen is currently a Programme Lead for the Education Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) training within CYP-IAPT, as well as working across ITE courses at Northumbria. 


Helen Woodley

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Helen's research interests include:

- School cultures and their impact on staff wellbeing

- Alternative Provision/Pupil Referral Units including how we can hear the authentic voices of both staff and pupils

- CYP mental health including the role of EMHPs

Helen is also interested in the use of autoethnographic and biographical methodologies, Kierkegaardian philosophy, and how mental health is understood within the context of religious belief and faith. 

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Supporting minority groups in schools: Reflections on training education mental health practitioners, Woodley, H. 26 Aug 2021, In: Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
  • Visible and Invisible Cultures: What Teachers Can Learn about Schools When Applying for Posts, Woodley, H. 19 Feb 2021, Early Careers in Education, Bingley, Emerald
  • Paradigmatic Shifts in Doctoral Research: Reflections Using Uncomfortable Reflexivity and Pragmatism, Woodley, H., Mazzoli Smith, L. 2 Mar 2020, In: The International Journal of Qualitative Methods
  • Teaching Excluded Pupils: discourses within an alternative education setting in the UK and the use of journalling and autoethnography to develop a ‘new’ discourse, Woodley, H. 2020, Discourses We Live By, The Open Books Co.
  • Toxic Schools: How to avoid them and how to leave them, Woodley, H. 25 Oct 2018
  • The use of autoethnography in classroom based practitioner research, Woodley, H. Dec 2016, In: Annual Review of Education, Communication, and Language Sciences


  • Education PGCE September 01 2003
  • BA (Hons) June 01 2002
  • Doctor of Education Ed.D
  • National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership NPQSL 2015
  • National Award for SEN Coordination NASENCO 2014

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