Dr Ben Simmons is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Education and co-directs the Centre for Research in Equity, Inclusion and Community (CREIC). His area of expertise lies in special and inclusive education, with particular reference to children with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). Ben leads three undergraduate modules in the SEND field, teaches research methodology and currently supervises doctoral students in the fields of mental health and disability.
Ben’s research examines the social and educational inclusion of children with PMLD. He was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in this field (2014-2017) and led a three-year project examining the social interaction of children with PMLD who attended mainstream school. This work significantly built upon Ben’s ESRC-funded doctoral research (2010) and book, co-authored with Debbie Watson, titled The PMLD Ambiguity: Articulating the Life-Worlds of Children with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (London: Routledge, 2014).
Prior to his fellowship, Ben held research posts in the fields of Health and Education at the University of Bristol, University of Oxford, University of Exeter, Plymouth University, and Bangor University. He also worked as a researcher or support worker for third sector disability organisations, including Scope and Mencap.
- BA (Hons), English Studies and History, Oxford Brookes University
- MEd, Special Educational Needs, University of Exeter
- PGCE, Early Years, University of Exeter
- MSc, Educational Research, University of Exeter
- PhD, The PMLD Ambiguity - Articulating the Lifeworlds of Children with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities, funded by the ESRC, University of Exeter.
- Fellow - Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
- EDU4101: Controversial Issues in Special and Inclusive Education
- EDU5101: Supporting Learners with Additional Needs
- EDU5102: Critical Approaches to PMLD Education
- EDU6001: Education Dissertation
- PhD Supervision
Areas of expertise
- Special Educational Needs
- Inclusive Education
- Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD)
- Research Methodology.
Ben is interested in supervising students in the field of special and inclusive education, profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and disability studies.
Research and academic outputs
Conferences and reviews
Conference Presentations and Invited Talks
- Simmons, B. (2017)," The phenomenology of intersubjectivity and research with profoundly disabled children: Developing an experiential framework for analysing lived social experiences", Profound Intellectual Disability Symposium, Helsinki, Finland, 15 June 2017
- Simmons, B. (2016), "Examining the situated and emerging sociability of children with PMLD", Centre for Researching Education Across Boundaries (CREAB), University of Bristol, 22 March 2016
- Simmons, B. (2015), "Qualitatively mapping the social interaction opportunities of children with profound and multiple learning difficulties in educational contexts", Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Australia, 30 November 2015
- Simmons, B. (2015), "Assessing the social skills of children with PMLD through 'inclusive education'", SEND Teach Meet, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, 18 February 2015
- Jay, T., Rose, J., & Simmons B. (2014), " 'It’s helping your child experience the world': How parents can use everyday activities to engage their children's mathematical learning", Centre for Mind and Brain in Educational and Social Contexts (MBESC), University of Bristol, United Kingdom, 29 September 2014
- Rose, J. Simmons, B. & Jay, T. (2014)" 'It’s helping your child experience the world': How parents can use everyday activities to discuss maths with their children", European Conference of Educational Research (ECER), University of Porto, Portugal, 4 September 2014
- Simmons, B. (2013), "Understanding children with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in research, theory and practice (invited paper)", Centre for Mind and Brain in Educational and Social Contexts (MBESC), University of Bristol, United Kingdom, 25 October 2013
- Simmons, B. (2012), "Changing the agenda: reflections about the research landscape for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties" (invited keynote paper), 1st UK Disabled Children’s Research Network Conference (UKDCRNC), University of Bristol, 16 May 2012
- Simmons, B. (2011), "The PMLD ambiguity: articulating the life-worlds of children with profound and multiple learning difficulties", Nordic Network on Disability Research (NNDR) 11th Research Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, 28 May 2011
- Simmons, B. (2010), "Personhood, participation, and the PMLD conundrum" (invited paper), presented at the Cornwall Disability Research Network (CDRN) 5th Annual Conference, Cornwall College, United Kingdom 29 October 2010
- Simmons, B. (2008), "Sam's Story" (invited paper), Cornwall Disability Research Network (CDRN) 3rd Annual Conference, Cornwall College, United Kingdom, 27 December 2008
- Blackmore, T., Simmons B. & Vakirtzi, E. (2006), "Postmodern rhizomatics and synergistic knowledge creation: the case for rejecting grand narratives in educational research", European Conference of Educational Research (ECER), University of Geneva, Switzerland, 13 September 2006
- Simmons, B. & Bayliss, P. (2005), "Developing intersubjectivity in children with profound and multiple learning difficulties through inclusive education", International Conference of Inclusive Education, Institute of Education, Tai Po, Hong Kong, 09 December 2005.
- Simmons, B. (2018) Review of Manning, E. (2016) The minor gesture - thought in the act, for Disability & Society
- Simmons, B. (2017) Review of Paterson, M. (2015) Review of Seeing with the hands, for Disability & Society, 32 (2): 280-281
- Simmons, B. (2013) Review of Hesse-Biber, S. & Patricia, L. (2010) Handbook of Emergent Methods, New York: The Guildford Press, for British Educational Research Journal 39 (5): 947–949
- Simmons, B. (2010) Review of Armstrong, A., Armstrong, D., & Spandagou, I. (2010) Inclusive Education: International Policy and Practice, London: Sage Publications, for Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 10 (3), 256.