Staff Catalogue


Department of Education
Crosspoint, 510
40, Kallipoleos Ave.

Simoni Symeonidou is an associate professor (Inclusive Education) at the Department of Education of the University of Cyprus. She holds degrees from the University of Cyprus (BEd in Primary Education), the University of Manchester (MEd in Special Needs and Development) and the University of Cambridge (PhD in Education). Her research interests include teacher education for inclusive education, curriculum development for inclusive education, inclusive education policy and practice, and disability politics. She is actively involved in networks and local and European associations which promote inclusive education issues. She is actively involved in the continuing professional development of teachers working in pre-primary, primary or secondary education. Her publications include articles in international peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and two books in Greek and an edited volume in English. Simoni is the scientific co-ordinator of the research project 'Tessearae of Knowledge' (; a project focusing on the collection, digitisation, dissemination, and usage of material produced by disabled people and people with chronic illnesses.

Teacher education for inclusive education
Curriculum development for inclusive education
Disability art
Inclusive edication policy and practice
Disability politics
Symeonidou, S. (2014). Dimensions of disability in Cyprus. Analysing experiences of everyday life and political struggle. Athens: Pedio. (in Greek)
Symeonidou, S., & Beauchamp-Pryor, K. (Eds.). (2013). Researching disability: purpose, process and future directions. London: Sense Publishers.
Symeonidou, S., & Phtiaka, H. (2012). Teacher education for inclusion: from research to praxis. Athens: Pedio. (in Greek)
Papers in refereed journals
Symeonidou, S. (2024). Curricula for exclusion: Interpreting the ideologies and forces underpinning policy developments in relation to the education of children with disabilities. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education.
Mavrou, K., Symeonidou, S. & Tsakiri, M. (2024). Once inclusive always inclusive (?): experiences of Cypriot teachers and parents of children with disabilities on the use of technology and collaboration before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. International Journal of Inclusive Education.
Symeonidou, S., Tsakiri, M. & Mavrou, K. (2024). Inclusive education in the aftermath of the pandemic. Lessons from mainstream and special teachers who ‘escaped the room’. European Educational Research Journal.


Demetriou, K. & Symeonidou, S. (2023). Stamped allegories of disability: Representations of the disabled body on postage stamps. Disability & Society, 38(7), 1091-116.

De Vroey, A., Lecheval, A., & Symeonidou, S. (2023). Supporting all educators to take part in teacher professional learning for inclusion. Trends in Higher Education, 2(2): 320-321.

Symeonidou, S., Loizou, E. & Recchia, S. (2023). Editorial. The inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood education: interdisciplinary research and dialogue. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 31(1), 1-7, DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2022.2158632 
Symeonidou, S. & Loizou, E. (2023). Bridging early childhood education and inclusive practices in classrooms that serve children with disabilities: a narrative portrait. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 31(1), 92-105, DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2022.2140817 

Symeonidou, S. (2022). Unpacking ableist discourses in Cypriot education policy during the pandemic. European Educational Research Journal, 22(6), 834-851. DOI: 10.1177/14749041221117885

Symeonidou, S. (2022). Teacher education for inclusion and anti-oppressive curriculum development: innovative approaches informed by disability arts and narratives. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 26(7): 659-673, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2020.1711819

Kefallinou, A., Symeonidou, S. and Meijer, J. W. Cor (2020). Understanding the value of inclusive education and its implementation: A review of the literature. Prospects, 49: 135-152. 

Symeonidou. S. & Mavrou. K. (2020). Problematising disabling discourses on the assessment and placement of learners with disabilities: can interdependence inform an alternative narrative for inclusion?, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 35(1):70-84.

Symeonidou, S. & Chrysostomou, M. (2019). ‘I got to see the other side of the coin’: Teachers’ understandings of disability-focused oppressive and anti-oppressive pedagogies, International Journal of Educational Research, 98 (2019), 356-365.

Symeonidou, S. (2019). Disability, the arts and the curriculum: Is there common ground?, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 34(1),50-65. 

Symeonidou, S. & Loizou, L. (2018): Disability studies as a framework to design disability awareness programs: no need for ‘magic’ to facilitate children’s understanding, Disability & Society, 33(8), 1234-1258.  

Symeonidou, S. (2017). Initial teacher education for inclusion: a review of the literature. Disability & Society, 32(3), 401-422. 

Chrysostomou, M. & Symeonidou, S. (2017). Education for disability equality through disabled people’s life stories and narratives: working and learning together in a school-based professional development programme for inclusion. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 32(4), 575-585. 

Jones, C., & Symeonidou, S. (2017). The Hare and the Tortoise: A comparative review of the drive towards inclusive education policies in England and Cyprus. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 21(7), 775-789. 

Gibson, S., Baskerville, D., Berry, A., Black, A., Norris, K., & Symeonidou, S. (2017). Including students as co-enquirers: matters of identity, language and labelling in an International Higher Education participatory research study. International Journal of Educational Research, 81, 108-118.

Gibson, S., Baskerville, D., Berry, A., Black, A., Norris, K., & Symeonidou, S. (2016). ‘Diversity’, ‘Widening Participation’ and ‘Inclusion’ in Higher Education. An international study. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 18(3), 7-33.
Monoyiou, E. & Symeonidou, S. (2016). The wonderful world of children’s books? Negotiating diversity through children’s literature. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 20(6), 588-603.
Symeonidou, S. (2015). Rights of people with intellectual disability in Cyprus: Policies and practices related to greater social and educational inclusion. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 12(2), 120-131.
Symeonidou, S. (2014). New policies, old ideas: the question of disability assessment systems and social policy. Disability and Society, 29(8), 1260-1274.
Symeonidou, S. (2014). ‘Ψηφίδες Γνώσης’: μια έρευνα-εργαλείο για την επαγγελματική ανάπτυξη των εκπαιδευτικών. [‘Tesserae of Knowledge’: using research as a tool for teachers’ professional development]. Επιθεώρηση Συμβουλευτικής κα ιΠροσανατολισμού [Counseling and Guidance Review], Issue 104. (in Greek)
Mavrou, K., & Symeonidou, S. (2014). Employing the principles of Universal Design for Learning to deconstruct the Greek-Cypriot new national curriculum. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(9), 918-933.
Symeonidou, S., & Mavrou, K. (2014). Deconstructing the Greek-Cypriot new national curriculum: to what extent are disabled children considered in the ‘humane and democratic school’ of Cyprus? Disability and Society, 29(2), 303-316.
Symeonidou, S., & Phtiaka, H. (2014). ‘My colleagues wear blinkers… If they were trained, they would understand better’. Reflections on teacher education on inclusion in Cyprus. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 14(2), 110-119.
Symeonidou, S., & Damianidou, E. (2013). Enriching the subject of Greek Literature with the experience of the ‘Other’: an approach that fosters citizenship education in Cyprus. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17(7), 732-752.
Symeonidou, S., & Phtiaka, H. (2009). Using teachers’ prior knowledge, attitudes and beliefs to develop in-service teacher education courses for inclusion. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(4), 543-550.
Symeonidou. S. (2009). Trapped in our past: the price we have to pay for our cultural disability inheritance. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 13(6), 565-579.
Peters, S., Gabel, S., & Symeonidou, S. (2009). Resistance, transformation and the politics of hope: imagining a way forward for the disabled people’s movement. Disability and Society, 24(5), 543-556.
Symeonidou. S. (2009). The experience of disability activism through the development of the disability movement: how do disabled activists find their way in politics? Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 11(1), 17-34.
Symeonidou, S. (2007). Parental involvement in education politics: the case of disabled children. Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies, 12(2), 45-67.
Symeonidou, S. (2002). The changing role of the support teacher and the case of Cyprus: the opportunity for a cooperative teaching approach. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 17(2), 149-160.
Symeonidou, S. (2002). A critical consideration of current values on the education of disabled children. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 6(3), 217-229.
Research projects
DISARTS Professional Development Programme,
DISARTS was located in the Disability Studies theoretical framework and aimed to provide teacher professional learning opportunities on disability issues. The purpose of the programme was to empower teachers to design and implement lesson plans, that include the work of people with disabilities, either directly or indirectly. The programme used poems, literary texts, works of art, songs, videos, interviews and other material developed by people with disabilities. Participating teachers were involved in school–based professional learning activities. Through the knowledge, attitudes and skills developed through DISARTS, teachers were able to develop anti-oppressive curricula in order to (re)construct the concept of disability among learners in all levels of education. DISARTS received internal funding from the University of Cyprus (2019-2021), following a review process. It used the digital archive created in the programme "Tesserae of Knowledge" ( The scientific co-ordinator of the programme was Simoni Symeonidou.
'Tesserae of Knowledge',
'Tesserae of Knowledge' (in Greek, Psifides Gnosis) is a research project aimed at collecting, digitizing and disseminating material related to disabled people and people with chronic illnesses, primarily in order to promote inclusive education. In the context of the project, a digital archive was developed. The archive comprises of 'digital portfolios' for each person, entailing his/her biography, representative work (e.g. poems, literary texts, artwork, songs, videos, documentaries), and interviews. The digital portfolios can be used by anyone who is interested in disability issues, and particularly by teachers, as part of the curriculum. To this end, a search tool was developed, to facilitate teachers locate material that is suitable for different subjects, thematic areas, and class levels. The project runs a number of activities, such as professional development programmes for teachers, school based seminars, school based interventions addressed to teachers and students, presentations at conferences, and publications. The project 'Tesserae of Knowledge' was initiated in 2011, thanks to the funding provided by the University of Cyprus, and it continues its educational and social contribution to date. The project co-ordinator is Simoni Symeonidou.