Our Experts

Dr Sharon McMurray MBE

General Information

Dr Sharon McMurray teaches all of her courses in pre-recorded online sessions supported by live online tutorials.  Dr McMurray has AMBDA and an APC and is a member of the British Dyslexia Association Course Accreditation Board  in London. Sharon has a range of peer reviewed journal articles on reading, spelling, phonics, motor processing, assessment of literacy difficulties and inclusion and four chapters published on the DENI website in 2020 on memory, phonics, reading and spelling. Dr McMurray is internationally recognised as an expert in her field. On the 16th September 2021 Dr McMurray, Professor Usha Goswami, Cambridge University and Professor John Stein, Oxford University,  presented to a Westminster All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). This meeting was chaired by Lord Addington and the three presenters took questions after their presentations. The focus was on research evidence highlighting the limitations of systematic synthetic phonics and why a significant percentage of children cannot learn to read and spell using this method.

Teaching Responsibilities

M.Ed Degree Specialist Options

  • Developer and Course Co-ordinator for
  • M.Ed in Teaching Children with Specific Literacy Difficulties (with AMBDA)
  • M.Ed in Addressing Difficulties in Literacy Development (with ATS)
  • M.ED Individual Specialist Assessment,SEN and Access Arrangements

Teaching responsibility for

  • M.Ed in Teaching Children with Specific Literacy Difficulties with AMBDA
  • M.Ed in Addressing Difficulties in Literacy Development with ATS

Modules

  • EDC9093 Factors Affecting Literacy Development
  • EDC9094 Informal Assessment of Literacy Difficulties and Models of Intervention
  • EDC9095 Working with Children with Literacy Difficulties
  • EDC7024 Research Methods with psychometrics
  • EDC7030 Masters dissertation supervisor for all AMBDA students on M.Ed specialist option 2

M.ED Individual Specialist Assessment, SEN and Access Arrangements

Modules

  • EDC9097 Educational Testing
  • EDC9099 Specific Literacy Difficulties, Assessment and Access Arrangements
  • EDC9070 Specific Literacy Difficulties and Co-occurring Difficulties: Issues in assessment and intervention. (EDC9070 is currently under development)

B.Ed Undergraduate modules

  • Course co-ordinator and teaching responsibility for SES3081 Factors Affecting Literacy Difficulties (Year 3/4)

External Interests / Community Service

  • Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA)
  • Associate Assessor (Special Education) on ETI (Education and Training Inspectorate) inspection teams
  • Member of the British Dyslexia Association Course Accreditation Board
  • External Examiner Edinburgh University M.A. in Primary Education

Research Interests

  • SEN
  • Literacy
  • Assessment

Background & Qualifications

  • 2017 MBE Member of the Order of the British Empire for Services to Children with Literacy Difficulties and to those with Special Educational Needs
  • 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Dyslexia Association
  • 1980 B.Ed. Queens University, Belfast
  • 1984 L.L.C.M. Licentiate of the London College of Music
  • 1985 L.G.S.M. Licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music
  • 1987 Adv Cert (Literacy & Numeracy, 2 years part time) QUB
  • 1998 D.A.S.E. QUB
  • 1998 B.Sc. Open University
  • 2004 Ph.D. Faculty of Education, Queens University, Belfast
  • 2010 CCET Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (British Psychological Society)
  • 2016 APC SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate

Research & Scholarship

Journal Articles

McMurray S. McMurray, S. (2020) Learning to spell for children 5-8 years of age: the importance of an integrated approach to ensure the development of phonic, orthographic and morphemic knowledge at compatible levels. Dyslexia, on early view online 29/07/ 2020  http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dys.1663

McMurray, S., O’Callaghan, P & McVeigh, C. (2018) Quality assurance issues in the teacher-based assessment of students with literacy difficulties for examination access arrangements. Dyslexia. 24:3-16., http://doi.org/10.1002/dys.1576. Accepted 14 November 2017

McMurray, S. O’Neill, s. and Thompson, R. (2016). An Innovative Model for Professional Development. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs.Volume 16 [1] Number s1, 145-149 doi: 10.1111/1471-3802.12139

Murray, S. and Thompson, R. (2016). Issues in Inclusion and Individual Learning Needs Learning to Read. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs. Volume 16 [1] Number s1, 679-683 doi: 10.1111/1471-3802.12200

McMurray, S. and Thompson, R. (2016). Inclusion, Curriculum and the Rights of the Child. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs. Volume 16 [1] Number s1, 634-638 doi: 10.1111/1471-3802.12195

McMurray, S. & McVeigh, C. (2016) The case for frequency sensitivity in orthographic learning. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, Volume 16 [1] Number 4, 243-253 (online. 15 SEP 2014) DOI:10.1111/14713802.12079

McMurray,S. (2013) An evaluation of the use of Lexia Reading software with children in Year 3, Northern Ireland (6- to 7-year olds)Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 15-25, online August 2012

McMurray, S. (2010) ‘Dyslexia: the role of the mental lexicon’. Conference Proceedings, HICE 8th International Education Conference, USA, ISSN 1541 – 5880, pages 1121-1151 http://hiceducation.org/proceedings-library/

McMurray, S. (2010) Learning to Spell : Evidence from a three year longitudinal research study- Conference Proceedings, HICE 8th International Education Conference, USA, ISSN 1541 – 5880, pages 1152-1175. Available to download from 2010 Conference Proceedings at http://hiceducation.org/proceedings-library/

McMurray, S., Drysdale,J. and Jordan,G.(2009) ‘Motor processing difficulties:guidance for teachers in mainstream classrooms’ Support for Learning. Vol 24, No.3, 119-125

McMurray, S. (2008) ‘Sounds Alone Spells ‘trubel” The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (Patoss Bulletin). Volume 21, No.2, 27-31

McMurray, S.(2006) ‘Learning to spell: raising standards in spelling and independent writing’. Support for Learning, Vol 21, No.2 pgs 100-107

Books/Book Chapters

McMurray, S. (2018) Why did Northern Ireland schools perform so well on the PIRLS 2016 study? In Margaret M Clark OBE (ed) Teaching Initial Literacy: Policies, evidence and ideology, Glendale Education Birmingham

McMurray, S. (2011) Phonics: Levels of Sound and Orthographic Knowledge, Capacity Building Resources for SEN and Inclusion, pgs 142-143, DE, Rathgael, Bangor

McMurray, S. and Drysdale, J. (2011) Handwriting Difficulties, Capacity Building Resources for SEN and Inclusion, pgs 132-141, DE, Rathgael, Bangor

McMurray, S. (2011) Understanding Memory Difficulties, Capacity Building Resources for SEN and Inclusion, pgs 95-109, DE, Rathgael, Bangor

Resources

McMurray, S. (2020) ‘The importance of ensuring that all children can develop an effective phonics strategy’.  A Resource File for SEN. Bangor: DENI. Available online at https://bit.ly/33sjqF3

McMurray, S. (2020) ‘The importance of an integrated approach when learning to spell’. A Resource File for SEN. Bangor: DENI. Available online at https://bit.ly/3xXuY0R

McMurray, S. (2020). ‘Understanding Memory Difficulties. A Resource File for SEN. Bangor: DENI. Available online at https://bit.ly/3acUweY.

McMurray, S. (2020). ‘The beginning reading programme: the importance of a balanced approach.’ A Resource File for SEN. Bangor: DENI. Available online at https://bit.ly/3uBogf4 

Conference Papers

McMurray, S. & Thompson, R. (2015) Issues in Inclusion and Individual Learning Needs: Learning to Read. ISEC Conference, Lisbon, Portugal

McMurray, S. O’Neill, S.& Thompson, R. (2015) An Innovative Model of CPD, ISEC Conference, Lisbon, Portugal

McMurray, S.& Thompson, R. (2015) Inclusion, Curriculum and the Rights of the Child. ISEC Conference, Lisbon, Portugal

McMurray, S. (2014) Difficulties in literacy development: the influence of research on policy in Northern Ireland. British Dyslexia Association International Conference, March, 2014

McMurray, S. (2014) Learning to Read: The case of children with moderate learning difficulties and severe literacy difficulties. British Dyslexia Association International Conference March, 2014

McMurray, S. (2014) Masters Level Study: The importance of theory – practice links, British Dyslexia Association International Conference, March, 2014

McMurray, S. and Montgomery, R. (2014) A whole school approach to literacy difficulties: An innovative model of course delivery. British Dyslexia Association International Conference, March 2014

McMurray, S. (2010) Orthographic learning: practical implications of a developing theory’, ISEC conference 2010, Queen’s University, Belfast