Dr Jean Ware

Dr Jean Ware
Reader in Education
(01248) 388233
Trefenai, Normal Site


Jean Ware is Reader in Education (Special Educational Needs). Her main research interests and expertise are in improving the education of pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD). She has made a major contribution to the education of these pupils through research in the areas of communication, curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and staff training; and especially through the dissemination of this work to practitioners. She has published widely in both peer review and professional journals, and is editor of the SLD Experience, a BILD publication for teachers and others working with pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties. She was involved in the development of both the P Scales and Routes for Learning, the widely acclaimed assessment materials for pupils with complex needs published by the Welsh Assembly Government in 2006. She regularly contributes to the development of resources for teachers working with learners with SEN both in the UK and elsewhere and to continuing professional development for teachers. She has a particular interest in the link between research and continuing professional development, and is currently supporting staff at Ysgol Bryn Elian with developing research into their own practice.

Jean gained a joint honours degree in Psychology and English Language and Literature from Keele University in 1973 and an MA in Mental Retardation in 1974. She gained a PGCE (with merit) from Reading University in 1978 and taught children with severe and profound learning difficulties in Hampshire, Berkshire and Ealing until 1984 when she received an ESRC scholarship to complete her PhD research on provision for pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties at London University Institute of Education. During that research she examined the impact of adult interactions on the communication development of children with PMLD. She was successful in obtaining an ESRC research grant to extend this research following her PhD; and findings of this project were published the book Creating a Responsive Environment, which is now in its second edition. After completing her PhD, she remained as a lecturer at the London Institute for a further six years, running a specialism in Learning Difficulties within the Diploma in Special Educational Needs, a continuing professional development course for teachers, before moving to Cardiff University in 1993. She was invited to go and run courses for teachers of children with severe and profound learning difficulties, at St Patrick’s College in Dublin when these children were admitted to education in Ireland in 1995, and moved to St Patrick’s in 1998. She became Director of Special Education at St Patrick’s in 2003. While in Ireland she led and was involved in successful bids for research funding investigating the role of special schools and classes (DES, and NCSE, Ireland), the development of guidelines for pupils attaining significantly below age-related expectations (QCA, England), the development of a computerised teaching package for pupils with PMLD (DES, Ireland), an examination of early years provision in two areas of Ireland (Centre for Early Child Development and Education, Ireland).

Since moving to Bangor in 2008 she has continued to research into provision for children with SEN, including leading a study on access to the curriculum for young children with SEN in mainstream schools (NCSE, Ireland), and collaborating with others to win funding for evaluating the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars Cymru, and for research into bilingualism and SEN (Mantais). Since moving to Bangor, she has also been developing her expertise to include the very under-researched area of SEN and Bilingualism and has had several PhD students successfully complete studies in this field.

She is also the author and co-author of a number of articles, books and book chapters, and has recently collaborated with Prof J. Goldbart (MMU) on a systematic review of the effectiveness and sustainability of interventions designed to enhance the quality of interactions between staff and people with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.

Jean is regularly invited to participate in CPD events for teachers, both locally and nationally, particularly in relation to Routes for Learning.



Current Projects

  1. Rapid evidence assessment on the effectiveness of interventions to support young people with hearing impairments, visual impairments and multisensory impairments” Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) School of Education, University of Birmingham (Douglas, McLinden, Hodges, Terlektsi, Hewett, Wooten, Ellis and Thistlethwaite and the School of Education, Bangor University (Ware and Williams)
  2. Developing writing skills of secondary-aged learners with persistent literacy difficulties through explicit grammar teaching. McCormack-Colbert, Ware and Jones.
  3. How children with and without Special Educational Needs think about friendship (Ware and Cully)

Research grants held

Teaching (and ‘other’) grants held


(i) Refereed journal articles

(ii) Refereed Chapters in Books

(iii) Books, Edited Books, and Scholarly Editions

(iv) Conference Proceedings and other publications

(v) Current and Recent Research Students



Director of Research
Director of the EDD
Member: School of Education Ethics Board
Member: College Research Committee
Member: University Doctoral School Board


Year 3: Profound Learning Difficulties (Module Organiser) (XAE3039) – Semesters 1 and 2 (20 credits)
Anawsterau Dysgu Dwys (Module Organiser) (XAC3039) – Semesters 1 and 2 (20 credits)

MA Education: Meeting SEN (XME4006) Semesters 1 and 2 (30 credits)
MA Education: Towards Inclusion (XME4029) Semesters 1 and 2 (30 credits)
EdD Thesis Proposal (XME5001) Semester 1 (30 credits)

PhD/ EdD: First supervisor: 6 students
Second supervisor: 1 student


BA 21 Joint Honours (Keele) 1973 Psychology and English Language and Literature
MA (Keele) 1974 Psychology of Mental Retardation
PGCE with Merit (1978) (Reading) First School
PhD (London) 1987 Psychology of Education “Providing Education for Children with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. A Survey of Resources and an analysis of Staff: Pupil Interactions in Special Care Units”