Sharon’s pioneering work is helping children around the world

Dr Sharon McMurray.
Dr Sharon McMurray.

The principal of Stranmillis University College has congratulated Hillsborough woman Dr Sharon McMurray on being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Dr McMurray, Principal Lecturer and Head of the SEN Literacy Unit at Stranmillis, is to be awarded the MBE for services to Children with Literacy Difficulties and to those with Special Educational Needs.

An Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA) and a Member of the British Dyslexia Association Course Accreditation Board, Dr McMurray is one of the world’s foremost experts in SEN literacy, with a focus on raising standards in literacy attainment and tackling low and under-achievement in literacy.

Congratulating Dr McMurray on being included in the honours list, Stranmillis University College Principal, Dr Anne Heaslett said: “For over a decade, Sharon has been a pioneer and innovator in the area of SEN Literacy. She is a globally recognised expert in her field, and the positive impact of her work is being felt around the world.

“As a college, part of our remit is to shape the future of education policy and practices, ensuring that every child has the chance to realise their full potential and helping build a brighter future for us all. Through her research, teaching and continuing professional development activities, Sharon epitomises that ethos of innovative and creative thinking, coupled with a sheer determination and passion to positively impact and change lives. Our wholehearted congratulations go to Sharon on being awarded the MBE, and to the teams she has led and worked with over the past decade, who share her vision to bring about meaningful change.”

Dr McMurray is also being innovative in developing a blended learning approach to deliver an online suite of Masters-level modules and CPD courses in SEN Literacy to students from Ballymena to Barbados, Washing Bay to Washington DC, South Armagh to South Africa. Being delivered entirely online, students are able to wrap their studies around busy work, family and travel commitments.

One of her most recent successes was the development of a SEN Continuing Professional Development programme for primary schools in Northern Ireland. The SEN CPD Literacy Project, a collaborative partnership between Stranmillis University, St Mary’s University College and the Department of Education, saw Dr McMurray and the team deliver SEN training to over 5,100 local primary school teachers – almost two-thirds of the primary school teacher population.