John Ravenscroft

Professor of Childhood Visual Impairment (effective 1st Aug 2016)., PROF

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

The Nature and Profile of Childhood Visual Impairment

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Personal profile


After my first degree in Psychology I became very interested in Cognition, Language and especially Child Language. Following this BSc I ended up taking a Masters degree in Philosophy and Psychology of Language, at the University of London, Birkbeck.  This wonderful degree opened up a whole new world of Ontology, Cognition and for the first time the nature of representation.   For a while I became very interested in Primate Cognition and Primate Thought and for many years I carried around inside my head what it is to be a Rational Animal. What are the internal cognitive representations our fellow creatures have?  Meanwhile I got on with my life and went to live and work in New Zealand, Japan, and spent some time in Mongolia. Upon my return to the UK after several years working in the Psychology department and even the Parapsychology department at Edinburgh University I became the manager of Visual Impairment Scotland, and created the first UK child visual impairment notification system. I also became the Head of the Scottish Sensory Centre and during this tenure not only did a fulfil an ambition of mine to write a PhD on Primate Thought, I went to Australia for 18 months to the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children to develop and create Australia's first visual impairment notification system. Again upon my return I became Deputy Head of Department for Educational Studies, then the Head of Institute for Education, Teaching & Leadership (ETL), eventually becoming Deputy Head of School with periods of Acting Head of School. I am now Professor of Childhood Visual Impairment. 



  • BSc (Hons) Psychology
  • Master of Arts "Philosophy and Psychology of Language"
  • PhD (Edinburgh) "Ontology of Inductive Systems"

Current Research Interests

Specific areas of interest include:

  • visual impairment
  • inclusion
  • childhood and disability studies
  • the nature of representation
  • primate cognition
  • evolution of the causal mechanisms of cognitive growth

Research supervision:

I am keen to supervise research under the headings above.

I currently have PhD students covering areas of visual impairment, hearing impairment, evolutionary theory, and participation of children with disabilities in out of school activities.  I would particularly like to hear from any students interested combining my interest regarding the nature of representation and disabilities.

Collaborative Activity


The Handbook of Visual Impairment: Social and Cultural Reseach. Routledge. 

This book will hopefully be released in March 2019 with such topics as Cerebral Visual Impairment, Education, Employment, Art, Movement, Transition, Work. 


 June  2018 our (Dr Lorna Hamilton and myself) edited research method book comes out

Building Research Design in Education

Theoretically Informed Advanced Methods

Published by Bloomsbury comes out

Well worth a read


Current and recent research:


  • Profile of children with visual impairment
  • The Qualifications of Teachers supporting  children with visual impairment
  • The Competences of Teachers supporting children with visual impairment 
  • Collaborative Working with Children with Complex Needs
  • Mobile Online Learning for Visually Impaired Learners (MoLLVIS)
  • Facilitating the Inclusive Education Agenda. 




Post Graduate Courses

  • Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) 
  • The Nature of Enquiry
  • Collaborative Working in Children's Services
  • Issues and Strategies Education of Children with visual impairment
  • Policy and Practice: Children with visual impairment

College Research Themes

  • Identities and Inequalities


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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