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Dr Wendy Turner

Profile summary

Professional biography

Wendy Turner is the Associate Head of School (Curriculum) and joined the Open University at the start of June 2019. Wendy is a registered nurse for Children and Young People and for people with Learning Disabilities, having worked in the NHS for 16 years, mostly within primary care. Working across health, education and social care in supporting children, young people and their families in areas such as youth justice, palliative care, access to services and working towards best outcomes for these families. Wendy went into HE in 2002.  Her Master’s was in Youth Justice and her Professional Doctorate explored young people’s health literacy.  

In HE, Wendy has developed and written curriculum, teaching materials, assessment and learning tools for under and post graduate programmes in nursing, wellbeing, education, youth work, youth justice and social care for professional and non-professional programmes. She believes in a partnership approach to her work and enjoys working across teams. Wendy believes in tackling social inequalities through education and knowledge and holds on practice-based education and learning as a route to achieve this. Wendy is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Research interests

Wendy’s research interest includes health, well-being, education and social care for children and young poeple and those with learning and other disabilities. She has engaged with co-production research with young people in understanding (and tackling) inequalities through exploring health literacy as an issue of social justice. Her most recent research is an Erasmus+ project to tackle Early School Leaving across Europe.

Externally funded projects

Children’s lives in changing places
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Sep 202231 May 2024Nuffield Foundation

The most globally expansive research into young people’s contemporary urban life, Growing Up In Cities III (GUIC III) involves 18 countries where researchers in 24 study sites examine adolescent perceptions of urban space in order to better understand the impact the local environment has on their young lives. The intent of GUIC III is to empower children, providing them with a voice that advocates for their health and wellbeing, in contemporary urban contexts in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, India, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the USA. Aim: To understand how young people (aged between 10 and 15 years) use and derive meaning from their local environment; to develop insight into how the urban environment affects their lives, through observation and based on young people’s own words; and to apply this knowledge in support of meaningful change in the design and management of urban places. To address the aim and objectives, this project revolves around three general phases established in the 1990s GUIC II study (Chawla, 2002): a. A Research Phase: where qualitative and quantitative data is gathered on and with children, and the urban settings in which they live. b. An Action Phase: Findings/results are communicated and applied to an activity, initiative or project where outcomes lead to improvements in their lives. c. A Dissemination Phase: Young people’s views and voices are communicated to a range of decision makers in the local area where the study is being conducted and to a range of audiences worldwide to facilitate awareness and action, with the intention of improving their wellbeing and quality of life


Enabling undergraduates to put into practice learning to support emotional well-being for children and young people (2014-04-04)
Turner, Wendy
The International Journal of Emotional Education, 6(1) (pp. 76-94)

Child protection is everyone's business: safeguarding and child protection (2013)
Turner, Wendy
In: Tarry, Estelle and Cox, Anna eds. Teaching Assistants in International Schools (pp. 29-40)
ISBN : 978-1-908095-94-7 | Publisher : John Catt Educational Ltd | Published : Melton

Understanding the lived experience of digital poverty as a distance learner: student and tutor perspectives (2024-04-03)
Turner, Wendy; Gracia, Rosaria and Rainford, Jon
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

Determining the Funding Requirements of the Voluntary, Community and Cultural Sectors of the City of Milton Keynes (2023-09)
Turner, Wendy; Mutwarasibo, Fidèle; O'Hagan, Lauren Alex and Greenfield, Mari
The Open University, UK.

Simulation: informing and enhancing curriculum in Health, Wellbeing and Social Care (2021-10)
Turner, Wendy; Hallawell, Bob and Haider, Sharif
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

Health, Well-being and Welfare in Childhood (England) (2019-11-26)
Turner, Wendy
Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies

Friendship and Peer Cultures in Childhood (England) (2019-11-25)
Turner, Wendy
Bloomsbury: Education and childhood studies