Department:School of Education & Social Care
Areas of Expertise: Education and teaching
Melanie Peter has a background in special education and is a published authority on the arts and special needs, with expertise also in early years, primary education, and partnership with families.
Since qualifying as a special needs teacher, Melanie has maintained involvement in special education ever since and is widely known for her innovative developmental approaches using the arts, especially drama. A former Advisory Teacher, she has expertise also in movement and dance, and was the educational consultant for CBBC's BAFTA-winning show, Boogie Beebies!
Melanie has authored curriculum policy materials at home (for the Primary National Strategy and on-line interactive training resources for special needs) and abroad (National Curriculum for Eire). She is a regular contributor at conferences and training events nationally and internationally, and increasingly on partnership working with families.
Through an innovative body of work that has evolved through several action research cycles, Melanie’s research interests necessarily fuse inclusion and creativity. She has aimed to arrive at a substantive rationale for the effectiveness of interactive approaches to teaching children with special educational needs using the arts and drama as an intervention, driven by democratic Social Constructivist and Humanistic principles. This culminated in her PhD thesis (by publication) on drama as pedagogy for socially challenged children. Latterly, a second (related) quest has been to formulate development models and frameworks for training the inclusive interactive teacher, through research with trainees in special school contexts that exemplify the challenge.
Recent and current doctoral supervision as first supervisor:
Conflict Resolution among Children in an Israeli Preschool Class inspired by the ‘Reggio Emilia’ Approach (2011)
'LOVECIRCLES': A critical study of an emotion-based professional development programme for educators of children with special educational needs and disabilities (2015)
Expressive Arts in Ecotherapeutic Contexts: a social intervention for Autism (current)
A critical examination of the impact of the implementation of the Education, Health and Care Plan on organisation(s) and stakeholders supporting children and young adults with Special Educational Needs: A Case Study (current)
Melanie is a module leader for the BA Hons in Education and Childhood Studies, a tutor in MA Education, and is a research supervisor for undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD students. She is leading a new MA in Special Needs Collaboration (under development) and is also an associate tutor on autism for the University of Birmingham.
Sherratt, D. and Peter, M., 2002. Developing Play and Drama in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. London: David Fulton. Second edition in process.
DfE, 2012. Module 2.2: ‘Communication and Interaction’, for online resource: Training Materials for teachers of learners with Severe, Profound and Complex Learning Difficulties; commission from the Schools Network with Real Group, for the DfE http://www.complexneeds.org.uk/.
DfES, 2005. Primary National Strategy - Speaking, Listening and Learning: working with children who have special educational needs. London: DfES. Member of working party of consultants, contributor on drama.
NCCA, 2002. Curriculum guidelines for teachers of students with severe and profound general learning disabilities: Drama. Dublin: National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.
Peter, M., 2014. Aesthetic Learning for All: drama-in-education for children with SEN. Chapter in The Routledge International Handbook of Arts and Education, eds Fleming, M; Bresler, L; O’Toole, J. London: Routledge.
Peter, M., in press. ‘Developing the inclusive teacher of children with SLD and PMLD’, chapter in [text on SLD & PMLD, title TBC)], ed. Lacey, P.
Peter, M., in press. ‘Creative Teaching and Learning for Children with SLD and PMLD’, chapter in [text on SLD & PMLD, title TBC), ed. Lacey, P.
Peter, M., 2013. Developing Special School Placements within ITT. Networks, 15, pp73-79.
Peter, M., 2013. Training special educators: sustaining professional development in special school placements. Support for Learning, 28(3) pp122-132.
Peter, M and Walter, O., 2010. Movement as Inclusive Pedagogy. Support for Learning, 25(1), pp38-46.
‘Drama: Visual ethnography within a critical realism paradigm’. In process, to be submitted to Educational Action Research TBC.
‘Theatre companies and schools: a best value approach’. In process, to be submitted to Drama.
Peter, M., 2010. ‘Ensuring the Workforce is fully equipped for SEN Provision’, Lamb Inquiry Dissemination Conference, 2-3 February. London: Westminster Briefing.
Peter, M., 2010. ‘Policy into Practice’, SEN & Disability: Improving Parental Confidence and Outcomes for Children and Young People, 16 November. London: Westminster Briefing.
Peter, M., 2010. ‘Developing the Interactive, Inclusive Teacher – Movement as Inclusive Pedagogy’, Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress, 2-5 August. Belfast: Queens University.
Peter, M., 2011. ‘Autism: Quality Practice in Teaching and Learning’, Autism Innovation, 26 November. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University with Bents Green School.
Peter, M., 2012. ‘Considering Communication and Interaction’, ‘Training Materials for Severe, Profound and Multiple and Complex Needs’, 2 May. London: University of East London.
Peter, M., 2013. ‘Training Special Educators’, Training Partnerships for Children with Special Educational Needs, 13 May. Chelmsford: Anglia Ruskin University.
Peter, M., 2014. ‘Oral Language in Drama’, Talk for Learning and Living – symposium, 10 May. London: University of London Institute of Education.
Peter, M., 2015. ‘Art and special needs’, conference - Royal Academy, 21 March.