Dr Seán Bracken

Sean Bracken 1

Principal Lecturer - Education and Inclusion

Education and Inclusion

Contact Details

email: s.bracken@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 542370

Seán Bracken is a Principal Lecturer and Principal Fellow of the HEA. He has worked internationally as a primary and secondary teacher, a teacher educator, a lecturer and an educational project manager in a diversity of countries including; the United States, Ireland, Samoa, Vanuatu, the UK and Papua New Guinea. For the past 10 years he has acted as the Course Coordinator for the National Award SENCO. Additionally, he currently teaches on the PG Cert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and he also supervises students pursuing Doctoral and Masters level studies.

Seán is passionate about enhancing learning opportunities and outcomes for all students, but is especially interested in the attainment of ‘non-traditional’ learners. His research interests are concerned with the nature of curriculum design and enactment and the potentials inherent in Universal Design for Learning to strengthen students’ outcomes in Higher Education. Recently, Seán has led research projects with colleagues at a diversity of universities in Brazil and Morocco aimed at building collegiate capacity for research and inclusion. 




  • BA Hons History and Sociology (National University of Ireland)
  • PG Cert Ed (State University of New York)
  • M.Phil Applied Linguistics (Trinity College, Dublin)
  • Masters of Education, School Leadership (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
  • Doctor of Education (University of Leicester)

Teaching and Research

Seán’s research interests include; Higher Education and Leadership, Technology and accessibility, Universal Design for Learning, Inclusivity, Intercultural Education, Identity and education.

Over the past three years, Seán has acted as Principal Investigator on two research projects funded by the British Academy. The first of these focused on the use of Lesson Study in Higher Education. This research explored student experiences of learning and assessment. A team at UW worked closely with colleagues from Brazil who are based at the Universidade Estadual Paulista "Júlio de Mesquita Filho" in Marília, São Paulo. Together we identified that  strategies for embedding Universal Design for Learning (UDL) could overcome some of the challenges faced by ‘non-traditional- students.

More recently, Seán has led a team of colleagues from UW in a capacity building exercise for researchers in Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. This Project aims to enhance academic writing, publishing and development of sustainable research skills more widely in the Global South.

PhD Project idea

Inclusion by Design Research Group

Seán coordinates the Inclusion by Design (IBD) group, which was set up in December of 2019 to bring together academics, students and colleagues from student services who are interested in strengthening learning outcomes and social experiences of diverse learners.


Seán is the co-founder and chair for The International Collaboratory for Leadership in Universally Designed Education INCLUDE, This is a dynamic group of professionals, researchers and practitioners from across the globe who extend knowledge and understanding of inclusive, accessible and engaging learning in all sectors in education. 

Professional Bodies

  • Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE):  Member / Editorial reviewer
  • NASENCO Provider Partnership: Member
  • RAISE: Member
  • British Educational Research Association (BERA)


Bracken, S. and Novak, K, (editors) (2019) Transforming Higher Education through Universal Design for Learning: An International Perspective. London: Routledge (March 13th, 2019)

Bracken, S. and Novak, K, (2019) ‘Universal Design for Learning: a global framework for realising inclusive practice in higher education’. In, Bracken, S. and Novak, K, (editors) (2019) Transforming Higher Education through Universal Design for Learning: An International Perspective. London: Routledge (March 13th, 2019)

Soler Costa, R. & Bracken, S. (2019) ‘Creating synergies between UDL and core principles of the European Higher Education Area in planning for pre-service teacher education’ In, Bracken, S. and Novak, K, (editors) (2019) Transforming Higher Education through Universal Design for Learning: An International Perspective. London: Routledge (March 13th, 2019)

Hanesworth, P., Bracken. S., and Elkington, S. (2018) A typology for a social justice approach to assessment: Learning from Universal Design and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy. Teaching in Higher Education

Bracken, S. (2018) Multilingualism: Overcoming Policy Constraints, In Woolley, R. (Ed). Understanding Inclusion: Core Concepts, Policy and Practice. London: Routledge PP 58-70.

Olivera, J.,Rodrigues, E.,Bracken, S. (2017). Suportes para a escolarização de estudantes do público-alvo da Educação Especial. Revista De Estudios e Investigacion en Psicologia y Educacion.

Bracken, S. Kadi-Hanifi, K., Driver, C. (2017) Teaching English as an Additional Language in Secondary schools: Policy and Practice. London: Routledge

Conferences, Seminars and Papers
Becoming visible: comparing inclusive and special education policies, practices and research in Brazil and the UK. Paper presentation Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil (UfSCAR), 12-14 March 2015 

Linguistic inclusion, elision and subjectivities: The dynamics of language power at play in two English primary schools. Presenter AERA Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, USA. 16 – 20 April 2015

Supporting mental health, positive behaviour and well-being: Sharing best practice in education. University of Worcester in collaboration with Worcestershire Local Authority and Solihull Borough Council, Co-Organiser,16th March 2015

Children’s futures in the West Midlands; Addressing changes in policy and practice for SENCos (working in collaboration with Midlands Pathfinder in SEN) Organiser, University of Worcester, ARENA http://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/childrens-futures-west-midlands.html 

Assessing the impact of professional development on inclusive learning and teaching: Research findings from a review of the National Award SENCO. Presenter BERA Annual Conference: University of Sussex. September 2013 

Subjected self and becoming other(ed): A study of immigrant educational experiences in an English town. Presenter Centre for Learner and Identity Studies: Edge Hill University. 2011

Recent Presentations and Keynote addresses

Keynote Addresses:

Sean gave invited keynote presentations at:

  • University of Hertfordshire, Business School, Learning and Teaching Conference. Sep, 7th 2020 Universal, Particular and Inclusive: Changing curriculum and assessment for changing times
  • State of São Paulo Secretariat of Persons with Disabilities and the State Universities of São Paulo (USP / UNIFESP / UNICAMP). August 27th 2020 Vision for Access, Accessibility and Achievement: A Future Pathway to Inclusion.
  • University of Barcelona (Spain) - 2nd International Conference for the Association of Universities and Research Centres in Catalonia, Nov, 7th-8th, 2019. Creating Inclusive Policy and Praxis in Higher Education through Universal Design for Learning. 
  • Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. August, 2nd, 2019 Designing INclusion - Building sustainable learning communities in Higher Education. First EDI Conference.


He was also invited to present at:

  • AdvanceHE:  Virtual Assessment and Feedback Symposium 2020: Assessment and feedback in the pandemic era: A time for learning and inclusion. October 28th 2020. Online
  • 4Th Pan Canadian Conference on Universal Design for Learning, October 4th, 2019, Royal Roads University, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
  • AHEAD Conference on Inclusion in Higher Education, March 25th, 2019 Dublin, Ireland.
  • International Conference on Education Quality, June, 2019 4th, University of Ibn Zohr, Morocco
  • CAST Conference on Universal Design for Learning. 10th August, 2018. Harvard Law School, Boston USA.
  • NASEN Live, Conference Centre Birmingham, 14th July, 2018
  • Researching Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) Joint Inclusive Practice & Assessment SIGs May 2018. / University of Northumbria, Newcastle
  • Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL) International Conference. 29th June 2017, University of the West of Scotland.
  • AHEAD, Universal Design for Learning Conference, 16th March, Dublin Ireland.
  • Supporting Inclusive HE in Flemish Belgium – Learning from a Erasmus Transnational Project, 29th July, 2016 SIHO Ghent, Belgium.
  • BERA Internationalisation Event, 22nd June 2016, University of Worcester.

External Roles

  • External Examiner: MSc in Higher Education Administration, Management and Leadership (Nottingham Trent University)
  • External Examiner: BA SENDI (University of Northampton)