Dr Katie Gathercole

Dr Katie Gathercole


I am a tutor on the MA Special Educational Needs programme. I recently completed my ESRC funded Doctoral research on the educational experiences of children and young people with cystic fibrosis (CF). I come from a background of working with children and young people who may experinece exclusion in education, to identify and remove barrers to learning. I have worked in various education settings such as mainstream and specialist provisions, and local authorities. I am also interested in patient engagement and involvement in the CF research context. I have engaged patients in identifying priority areas for future clinical research and have ensured that the experiences of people with CF have been integrated into the design of several clinical research studies.

Research interests

My research interests are focused upon the biopsychosocial interactions involved in the lives of people with cystic fibrosis. I am interested in the transactions between health and the social/educational experiences of those with the condition. My recently completed Doctoral research, explored the educational experiences of children and young people with CF from a biopsychosocial perspective. The study is the first of its kind to reveal CF related educational needs and challenges, as identified by children and young people themselves. The research showed that the needs of children with CF are not typically considered within SEN or disability frameworks, making them especially vulnerable to falling beneath the radar in terms of gaining access to education support systems. While many of the children's needs stemmed from biological problems related to CF, the study demonstrated that the majority of educationally supportive responses should be targeted at the socio-environmental or school level. The study adds to debates around the idea of 'full inclusion', which sees inclusive education principals as being relevant to all students and not just those with identified SEN.

I have also contributed to a range of CF related clinical projects with a focus on engaging patients in clinical research processes and ensuring that patient experiences and perspectives are listened to and acted upon in the design of clinical studies. Most recently, I have been involved in the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) for Cystic Fibrosis in partnership with the University of Nottingham Evidence Based Child Health Group. The PSP is an initiative to identify the top ten priority areas for clinical research into CF with all members of the CF community, in which patients, parents and clinicians are involved in setting the CF research agenda.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • MA SEN
  • MSc Educational Research Methods
  • PhD

Student education

I have teaching responsibilities on the MA SEN.