Catherine is a Professor of Education and Special Needs at the University of Reading where she is the Head of School for the Institute of Education and lectures in Special Educational Needs across most of the initial teacher training and Masters level programmes. Her doctoral research focused on appropriate educational provision for children with autism and looked at this from the view point of parents, local authorities and a school. She was previously an employee of Prior's Court School and is a parent of a young adult with autism (who was one of Prior’s Court School’s first students).