School of Inclusive & Special Education


Primary Department
School of Inclusive & Special Education
Academic Staff
Phone number:
01 700
St Patrick's Campus
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Academic biography

Dr Paula Flynn is an Assistant Professor in the School of Inclusive and Special Education in Dublin City University (DCU) Institute of Education. Her research and teaching interests include: student/learner voice; children's rights-based methodologies; critical perspectives of inclusion and exclusion in education and society; hidden curriculum; power and empowerment in education environments; leadership for learning; and relational care in the context of education. Paula ​was​ the principal investigator on a national study funded by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) ​between 2014 and 2017, ​which involve​d​ a consultative process with students at post-primary level in the development of opportunities for curricular development. A significant objective of this study ​was​ to determine how to embed a culture of listening and a sustainable response to student voices both in schools and education discourse nationally. This study led to the establishment of the first NCCA Student Voice Forum in October 2015. ​ The final report from this study is available to read at this link:

Paula was the Republic of Ireland coordinator and research partner in a children's rights-based study funded by the Centre for Cross Border Studies, which explored the educational beliefs of primary school teachers in Dublin and Belfast, and examined how these may facilitate or hinder the implementation of children’s voice initiatives. More information about this study is available at and the report can be acessed from here:'_beliefs_about_education_and_children's_...

Paula is currently engaged in research which is investigating transition from primary to secondary school in the Dublin 1 area with her colleagues, Dr. Ger Scanlon and Dr. Neil Kenny from DCU IoE and Dr. Alison Doyle (Caerus Education). This study is funded by Greater Dublin Independent Living (GDIL).

Paula serves on the DCYA Steering Committee to support 'Improving Student Voice in Schools'. She is also a member of the AONTAS Academic Expert Group which advises on Learner Voice research and initiatives. 

She is a member of the international collaborative network, Counting Every Child In, (CECI) with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh, Beijing University and Trinity College Dublin, which promotes research in the area of inclusive education and pupil voice.

Prior to her appointment to DCU Institute of Education, Paula was a member of the academic staff in the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin, and currently retains a role there as Adjunct Professor. Paula hosted an international conference. ‘Learner Voice; Nothing about us without us, listening to the voices of students’ in Trinity College, June 2015. 

Her qualifications include a BA in Ancient Classics and H. Dip Education, both from the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM), and Ph. D. from Trinity College Dublin.

Research interests

Dr. Flynn's research interests include: student/learner voice; children's rights based methodologies; critical perspectives of inclusion and exclusion in education and society; hidden curriculum; power and empowerment in education environments; the experiences of young people identified with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties; leadership for learning; relational care in the context of education; and the experience of people with mental health difficulties in education environments.
She has or is currently supervising doctoral student research across a range of topics including: student/pupil voice; mental health; disadvantage; prison education; inclusive education.