Edinburgh Research Explorer

Rachel O'Neill

Senior Lecturer

Profile photo

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

, University of Manchester
Master of Language

Professional Qualifications

NVQ 4 British Sign Language, NVQ 4 BSL
Teacher of deaf children, PGCE

Area of Expertise

Research expertisedeaf education, inclusive education, British Sign Language in educational settings


I worked as a teacher in secondary, further and community education for 25 years before moving to the University of Edinburgh in 2006. I trained as a teacher of deaf children and an EAL tutor and used both approaches in my work in colleges with deaf students. At Edinburgh I was programme director for the MSc in Inclusive Education from 2014 - 18. I lead the deaf education pathway, the Postgraduate Diploma which teachers of deaf children take. I support the work of the Scottish Sensory Centre, based in the School of Education and I am involved with the British Sign Language Glossary of Curriculum terms based at the SSC. My current research interests are deaf and hearing children's online reading and searching skills, sign bilingualism and language policy.

About SSC

Current Research Interests

  • deaf young people's transitions to college, work and higher education
  • language modification as an access strategy
  • Language policy and British Sign Language in education
  • BSL glossaries and definitions for curriculum subjects
  • literacy and deaf learners

Collaborative Activity

Deaf Achievement Scotland: Nuffield Foundation funded project 2010-12 with Honorary Professor Marc Marschark: http://www.deafachieve.org.uk/site/

Assessing the feasibility of using digitised British Sign Language examination papers for deaf
candidates in Scotland, Cameron, A., Quinn, G. & O'Neill, R.


  • Postgraduate Diploma and MSc in Inclusive Education (Deaf learners pathway)
  • Educational Studies 4, Professional research in education for Undergraduate Education students: Course Organiser
  • Sources of Knowledge (cross-School research methods postgraduate course)
  • Language and Communication (deaf learners pathway)
  • Promoting Achievement and Curriculum Access (deaf learners pathway)
  • Placement (deaf learners pathway)

Research outputs

  1. The joy of reading for deaf kids

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

  2. Parents and deaf children

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

  3. Exploring alternative assessments for signing deaf candidates

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (37) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Notetaking for deaf students

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar

View all (1) »

Research projects

  1. Online reading project

    Project: Research Collaboration with external organisation

View all (7) »

ID: 13222