Claughton, Amy Dr

Position: Scholarly Teaching Fellow
Study area: Education
Location: Mt Helen Campus, T Building, Room 301C
Phone: (03) 5327 9254


Doctor of Philosophy – Federation University Australia – 2020

Master of Education – University of Ballarat - 2009

Bachelor of Arts/ Teaching (Primary) – Deakin University - 2004



  • Bachelor of Education (Primary)
  • Master of Teaching


  • Diversity and Inclusion: Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners (EDBED 2010)
  • Differentiating for Learning and Teaching (EDBED 4010)
  • Understanding Dis/ability (EDBED 1013)
  • Inclusive Education (EDBED 1014)
  • Differentiating for Diverse Learners (EDBED 2007)
  • Collaborative Partnerships (EDBED 2112)
  • Technology and Communication for and with Diverse Learners (EDBED 3116)
  • Teaching Students with Complex Needs (EDBED 3113)
  • Responding to Challenge: Mental Health, Behaviour and Learning (EDBED 3117)
  • Understanding and Supporting Young People (EDMAS 6025)


Amy is a Scholarly Teaching Fellow in Disability Studies in Education at Federation University Australia, and is currently the Deputy Chair and Early Career Research representative on the School of Education Research Committee. Amy works and researches in the field of Disability Studies in Education.  She has received the Inclusive Education Summit Junior Scholar Award for her contribution to research on play-based learning for children with impairments.  Drawing on the concept of disability as a social construct, she has examined how teacher actions and responses enable children with impairments to engage in play-based learning.   Her areas of expertise are in disability studies, and connecting this perspective with play-based learning, play for children with impairments. This research connects closely with the concept of inclusive education and accessible learning opportunities.

Amy’s specific research examines the agency of children with impairments in play-based learning, and the actions and responses from adults to facilitate and enable children’s to engage in play-based learning.  Her research draws on critical ethnographic methodologies and incorporates the Mosaic Approach in developing inclusive methods to work for and with children. Amy is currently expanding her research to encompass Teacher Education, and apply her PhD research into meaningful opportunities to develop educator skills in inclusive education.

Amy is currently a Teacher Educator working in the field of Inclusive Education, and draws on her research knowledge to inform and underpin curriculum development. Amy has experience working as a generalist primary teacher in a mainstream classroom before retraining with into inclusive education. She has worked for several years in a special developmental school

Areas of expertise

Amy is an educational researcher who works within inclusive education. She has a predominate focus on play based learning for children with disabilities.  Amy’s research areas are underpinned by Disability Studies in Education.

Amy's research interests can be slotted into three categories:

(1) Disability Studies in Education

An integral part of her research is the theoretical perspective underpins her approach.  Grounded in disability studies, she draw on the social model of childhood disability. Amy has contributed to this field through her PhD dissertation, and publication Choosing time: Supporting the play of students with a dis/ability. Disability studies draws a distinction between and impairment and disability. Through this construct people are more disabled by society and the barriers (such as policy, place and spaces, and assumptions about ability) that are created.

In her research, the theoretical perspective provides an approach to interrogate the notion of disability and its relationships to inclusive education. This perspective underpins all presentations and publications to date, and is vital to the framing of children with impairments. Amy draws on disability studies to help identify elements in education that empower students to achieve, and also understand components of practice that disengage and exclude.

(2) Agentic play of children with impairments

Childhood and play as passionate area of research for Amy.  She examines how both childhood and play can be seen as social constructions.  Her research explores how play can be reframed to focus on abilities of children. Children are seen as active learners who exercise agency within their play.  Her PhD focuses on how children with disability demonstrate nuanced and complex play cultures that they construct themselves.

Throughout her research, children are recognised as active social agents who demonstrate self-deterministic behaviours. A strong focus of her PhD, she interrogated play-based learning to demonstrate how children exert agency through play.  Amy has contributed to this field is through her co-authored article Playing with or next to? The nuanced and complex play of children with impairments (Burke & Claughton, 2019), where the agentic nature of children with impairment’s play was examined and demonstrated.  This article builds on the body of literature that recognises and identifies the intentionality children with impairments they bring to their play.

(3) The rights of children

Inclusion features in Amy’s research, and she is passionate about bringing inclusion into all areas of education.  She has a focus on research that intersects disability studies and inclusion to examine rights-based education.  She aims to strengthen inclusion within Initial Teacher Education programs for both Initial Teachers and for children in schools.

An underlying facet of Disability Studies in Education is the inherent human rights of children.  The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) recognises the right for children to access education (article 28), the right to play (article 31) and the right for children with impairment to access effective support in education (article 23). A common theme within Amy’s research is the analysis and evaluation of teachers’ actions and responses and how they can enshrine these rights to play and learning as accessible for all children in the classroom.  This is evident in the publications Choosing time: Supporting the play of students with a dis/ability; and Approaching Play and Inclusion

These major areas of her research are all underlying themes that connect under the heading of inclusive education.  In her research Amy interrogates teacher actions and responses to explore how they can enrich the play for children with impairments.

Research interests

  • Disability Studies
  • Children with impairments and play
  • Play
  • Inclusive education


Book chapters

Claughton, A. (2017). Approaching play and inclusion. In B. Whitburn and V. Plows (Eds.), Inclusive Education: Making sense of everyday practice. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers

Claughton, A. (2015). Choosing time: Supporting the play of students with a dis/ability.  In T. Corcoran, J. White & B. Whitburn (Eds.), Disability studies: Education for inclusion (pp. 89-102). Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers

Journal Articles

Burke, J., & Claughton, A. (2019). Playing with or next to? The nuanced and complex play of children with impairments. International Journal of Inclusive Education23(10), 1065-1080.


  • Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
  • Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA)
  • Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT)