Mary Shannon

Head Of Department-Soc Work & Soc Welfar

School of Health, Science and Wellbeing

Mary Shannon has extensive practice experience in the children and families field, along with more recent substantial experience in the HEI sector. Having undertaken a specific course in Family Support studies, she is passionate about this area and its potential for strengths based approaches to improve the lives of children, young people and their families and communities.

In the practice field, my core experience is in the social care and social work field, including safeguarding children and young people. As a lecturer/Senior Lecturer, I have developed a strong core of skills in teaching in this area, covering Social work, Community and Family studies, Early Years and Apprenticeships. I have been course leader for a number of programmes including the ‘Step Up to Social Work’ in Greater Manchester and Humberside. I have been an enthusiastic teacher to diverse student groups, along with my developing research and writing interests in the broad field of support to children, young people and families.

In delivering training and consultancy to Local Authority practitioners and family support workers, both practitioners and managers, I have assisted in developing their knowledge and practice base. I have contributed to the development of CPD/enterprise, running a course on supporting families for multi- agencies, consultancy work with local authorities (Croydon and Salford) and leading a contract for the provision of training to assessors/managers in Kent/Medway Local authorities providing ASYE training/support. I have been a member of two Higher apprenticeships reference groups.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Registered with SWE

Academic qualifications

  • Diploma in Social Work, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
  • MA in Family Support Studies NUI, School of Political Science & Sociology, Galway
  • PGCE Certificate, University of Greenwich

Research interests

  • Family support
  • Social work/ social care

Research projects:

  • 'Sounding Boards' and 'Temperature Checks': An Evaluation of Practice Education Across the West Midlands Teaching Partnership. Carolyn Gair, Rebecca Ford, Prof Liz Boath, Mary Shannon (funded), 2020
  • ‘Evaluation of Signs of Safety’.Follow- Up, In-house report for Salford City Council Children’s Services Director, Manchester 2017
  • ‘Evaluation of SIPH in Salford’ SHUSU May 2016, Shannon M, Martin P, Brown P & Long, T (funded)
  • ‘No Second Night Out Salford and Gate Buddies: An evaluation for Riverside ECHG’. SHUSU February 2015, Butler D, Shannon M & Brown P. (funded)
  • ‘Supporting Children & Families: a comparison in service delivery’. Shannon M & Smyth B. February 2013


Shannon, M. 2018. Family Support for Social Care Practitioners, Palgrave Macmillan: Red Globe Press

Dolan, P., Shannon, M. and Smyth, B., 2017. Family support in practice: voices from the field. European Journal of Social Work, 21(5), pp.737-749.

Shannon M, 2017. Book Review: Social Work in Ireland: Changes and continuities: edited by A. Christie, B. Featherstone, S. Quin, and T. Walsh, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, 256 pp., £25.99 (paperback), ISBN 9781137383204, In Social Work Education, vol 36 (7) 850-851.

Shannon M, 2016. Supporting families: A historical lens on the contradiction of support and neoliberal objectives. Social Work & Social Sciences Review 18(3)

Smyth B, Shannon M & Dolan P, 2015. ‘Social support and resilience across borders: A case for unaccompanied asylum seeking children/separated children’. Transnational Social Review- A Social Work Journal. 5(3), 274-295.

Dolan, P & Smyth, B & Smith, M & Davis, J 2015 'Family Support and Child Welfare in Ireland: Capacities and Possibilities', 44-54, in: Early Intervention: Supporting and Strengthening Families, Dunedin, Edinburgh, UK.

Smith, M, 2013 ‘Child Protection Service User Involvement in Social Work Education’. Journal of Practice Teaching & Learning.11 (2), pp 77-91

Conference Presentations:

Growing and Learning Together: European perspectives in Developing Communities of Learning and HE pedagogy for Apprenticeships: from Curriculum Inception to Delivery and Review. HEA Annual conference 2019: Teaching in the spotlight : Learning from global communities - Aston University , Birmingham, 3 Jul 2019 → 5 Jul 2019 (Joint -Elmer S, Shannon M, Shakir S).

BASPCAN Congress, April 2018. Paper : ‘Signs of Safety in Practice’ (Joint). Warwick University

The ethos of Family Support: Policy-practice restraints and possibilities. (European Conference for Social Work Research 2016, Lisbon, Portugal, April 1 Apr 2016 → 3 Apr 2016). (Joint)

Translating Intensive Family Support Lessons for Social Work Practice (European Conference for Social Work Research 2015, LJUBLJANA, Slovenia, April 2015).

Troubled Families:Policy continuity and discontinuity (British Sociological Association conference, Glasgow, United Kingdom, Apr 2015 → 17 Apr 2015).

Supporting Children & Families:a comparison in service delivery (BASPCAN Congress, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, April 2015).(Joint)

Supporting Children & Families:a comparison in service delivery (BASPCAN Congress, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, April 2015).

Translating Family Support Lessons (Five Nations Family Support Conference, Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom, September 2014).

UK University

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Job Prospects

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Student Satisfaction

Complete University Guide 2022

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

for Course Content

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021