Meet the expert > Barry Johnson

Barry Johnson

Barry Johnson is Principal Educational Psychologist and Head of Assessment Services for Dyslexia Action. Here he talks of ignoring his headmaster to pursue his passion for psychology, and a dream of seeing Sheffield Utd FC in the Premiership in two years time.

BackgroundBarry Johnson

I am Principal Educational Psychologist and Head of Assessment Services for Dyslexia Action and have worked for the organisation for approximately 12 Years.

Prior to this, I was employed as a senior educational psychologist in charge of a multidisciplinary team in Sheffield Local Authority and have been an Educational Psychologist since 1973. I have published phonetic dictionaries for children with specific learning difficulties and have an academic interest in Piagetian Theory, receiving a Ph.D. in this area from Sheffield University in 1999.

I am in regular contact with Pearson Assessment because of the need for Dyslexia Action to review continually its range of psychometric tests for its consulting psychologists and specialist teachers.

I am a member of SASC and its subcommittee, STEC, which is concerned with the review and approval of new tests within the area of DSA Assessment. I am a BPS CCET Level A assessor and therefore involved in online and residential courses for CCET accreditation.


Current projects

I am hoping to help Dyslexia Action provide a new assessment service for young children based on the response to treatment paradigm that is gaining currency within USA and which has been acknowledged by the recent Rose Report. 

I am also regularly pitching for contracts on behalf of Dyslexia Action in order to support Dyslexia Action's 26 centres across the UK. I am involved in training courses for teachers and regularly hold conferences for the 90 or so consulting psychologists who work within Dyslexia Action centres.


What inspired you to get into this field?

I suspect this was my father who was a remedial teacher in Shropshire. He published a number of phonetic spelling dictionaries including a co-authored dictionary with me. Also, when at school, although I excelled at science subjects and my headmaster wanted me to study for a chemistry degree, I was utterly bored and wanted to study subjects that excited me. I chose psychology and have never been disappointed with my choice.


What you do away from work?

I must admit to enjoying the intellectual stimulation of understanding the statistics of psychometrics and application, so I read around this area quite a bit. Living near to the Peak District I enjoy its various available walks with my wife. I am a season-ticket holder for Sheffield United and look forward to the team entering the Premiership in two years time. My wife and I have a flat near Hampstead and we enjoy going to London and walking on the Heath.


If you weren't a psychologist, what would you be?

Probably some form of trainer.


Quick questions

What your favourite book?

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I'm currently reading Pepys's diary on my Kindle.


What's your favourite film and why?

Brief Encounters. The clipped English pronunciation always makes me laugh but the film is evocative and brilliantly produced.


Who is your favourite group and why?

Most definitely, the Eagles. My wife and I last saw them in Birmingham. I would travel a long way to see them again.


Whom do you most admire and why?

My wife. She's a lecturer in law and appears to have a magical ability to write a book and a couple of articles in a couple of weeks. She is so efficient!

What do you think?