Staff Profiles


Dr Maria Lehane

Senior Lecturer

School: Faculty of Education Undergraduate Programmes

Campus: Broadstairs

Tel: 01227 923880

Profile summary

Dr. Maria Lehane is a Senior Lecturer in Childhood Education and Care at Canterbury Christ Church University.  An enthusiastic and committed lecturer with substantial teaching experience in a variety of academic settings.  Dr. Lehane has experience of higher degree research supervision and a thorough knowledge of ethical research and practice with adults and children.  Her research experience includes evaluative reports for the Voluntary sector and government bodies to include the Local Authority, and NHS.  Previous professional experience includes working collaboratively across disciplinary boundaries in Health, Social Care and Educational environments and management positions in both Local Authority and Further Education settings. 

A Social Policy PhD entitled ‘No Frills: The Governance of Children and Family Services’ was completed in 2015.  This research has a strong policy and practice perspective and examined the operationalisation of policy concerning the role of the wider children’s workforce from 2010 – 2015.  The thesis is particularly concerned with the location of power and responsibility within the ‘Working Together’ agenda.  It examined the governance arrangements amongst practitioners and client groups expected to work together through the Every Child Matters Agenda and the Common Assessment Framework.   The thesis explores governance theory, issues of power, accountability, communication in partnership working and it identifies how the role of assessment is released, from professionals to the wider children’s workforce, in the safeguarding and protection of children.

Research and knowledge exchange

Dr. Lehane's social policy research interests are in governance theory, the ‘Working Together’ agenda, and issues of power, empowerment and power sharing.  She is a keen advocate of widening participation and have a keen interest in this area of the student learning experience.  Through undertaking the research for ‘No Frills’ Dr. Lehane gained a sound understanding of qualitative methodologies and valuable experience of the process to gain ethical clearance to interview staff and clients, to include children.  In addition to course management at the University of Kent, Dr. Lehane undertook research and worked collaboratively with external agencies including NHS, Social Care (statutory and non-statutory sector) and Kent Police.  Present research interests include the impact of short-term funding on the governance arrangements of voluntary sector services and students as co-producers of knowledge. 

Dr. Lehane area of specialist interest has conceptual transferability from its children and family governance content to other broader arenas of social science scholarship that concern power relationships, transdisciplinary working together, and the location of responsibility in a state that is both retreating and simultaneously involving itself in many aspects of civil society.

Teaching and subject expertise

Dr. Lehane has teaching qualifications and valuable experience teaching at undergraduate and Masters level at various Higher Education Institutions since 1998.  Educational experience in other HEIs includes management and course developmentfor Education, Training and Social Policy, writing course materials to include alternate education provision, Steiner, Montesorri and Pestalozzi educational perspectives and philosophies as methods for teaching young children. 

Dr. Lehane has experience as a subject lecturer (Social Policy) and personal tutor for third year BA Social Work students, and as an academic advisor, for MA Social Work students’ undertaking their research dissertations.  Other teaching experience includes tutor for Foundation Degree Health and Social Care students, and prepared and delivered social policy lectures. Other experience includes co-delivered lectures to MA in child protection students with a colleague from Kent Police regarding on line safety for young people, informed by the safeguarding research. 

Experience prior to 2009 includes partnership with City University and Queen Mary’s Westfield for, the Foundation Degree in Public Service Management to include offering on line support to adult learners. Dr. Lehane has experience as a mentor for Higher Education students undertaking PGCE (FE) from both the University of Greenwich and the University of Brighton.  For all students Dr. Lehane ensures formative as well as summative assessment opportunities encouraging a two-way dialogue to enhance student learning.

Professional Membership

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and in June 2017, due to become a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy following the completion of the Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

External activities

Working with voluntary sector community groups that value;

  • Combatting poverty: Supporting children and families
  • Education: Students as co-producers of knowledge
  • Supporting newly arrived refugees.

Publications and research outputs

2016 (uploaded) No Frills: The Governance of Children and Family Services available at

2014 Centre of Child Protection, Kent University and Kent Police Evaluation of serious game educational tool under the PREVENT agenda.  

2013 East Sussex Health Commissioned Research: Designed an on-line questionnaire for use by a GP Surgery to survey client/patient satisfaction.

September 2012 - April 2013 Big Lottery Evaluation Commissioned Research: Principal investigator for an Evaluative report for Kent and Medway Health Alliance (KMHA) of Services provided to Children and Families by a voluntary sector organisation funded by Big Lottery.


University College London and Bristol University, Theories of behaviour change and social work with Children and family social workers.

Open University.  Power, Ethics and Positionality, Critical Criminology and Social Policy Research Methods


University of Kent, Understanding Philanthropy.


University of Kent.  Social Exclusion Meeting - Researching Social Exclusion: Relevance for Public Policy and Practice.


Institute of Education, University of London.  International Conference Social Pedagogy Across Settings.  Social Work Practice, Children and Families, Foster Care and Teaching.

Kent University SPSSR: Invited and Chaired Janet Newman ‘Performing new worlds: critical standpoints and creative politics.’ 


Lincoln University SPA Conference: Bigger Societies Smaller Governments Social Policy Association conference.  ‘Governance of Children and Families Services: Every Child Matters’.

Cardiff University SPA conference Contested Continuities: Health and Social Welfare in the Big Society.


Charleroi, Belgium ‘ERCSW research seminar ‘The Third Party Intermediary in Participative Research on Social Work Practices debate from multiple perspectives.  ‘Governance and multi-agency work in Children and Families:The role of the Third Party Intermediary in the Development and Negotiation of Service Provision. 

London School of Economics (CARR)Child Protection


Hamburg University, German Research Foundation(DFG) and the Centre for Globalisation and Governance.Local social policy concepts, types and governance.  ‘Governance-.Participation, Partnership, Collaboration and Consultation’. 


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Last edited: 19/11/2020 13:32:00