Robin has a PhD in Education from the University of Exeter. On completing his doctorate he spent 10 years at Aberdeen College of Education where he lectured in the Sociology of Education. He then moved to King Alfred’s College (now the University of Winchester) where he was tasked with the establishment of the first Master’s Degree in Special Education in the UK.
After 10 years in Winchester he returned to Scotland taking up the post of head of a residential special school and farm training centre in Aberdeen. Five years later he went on to set up an advocacy service funded by Aberdeenshire Social Work Department and Grampian Health Board where most of his clients were adults with an intellectual disability and/or their families. He reluctantly resigned from this post because of increasing operational interference in the running of the service. Resulting from his experience as an advocate, he co-edited the book Advocacy and Learning Disability (Jessica Kingsley, 2002).
He then obtained the post of Development and Training Co-ordinator for Camphill Scotland - a body representing the Camphill communities in Scotland. A feature of Camphill practice that particularly impressed him was the fact that it was based on a social pedagogic model where aspects of care, education, therapeutic and medical activities, the use of crafts and creative arts were all brought together to form a holistic approach in supporting children with special needs. Robin is an unrepentant advocate of intentional communities - including Camphill villages - and a fierce critic of the current implementation of the policy of community inclusion.
He has written extensively in the professional literature: most recently he guest edited a Special Issue of the International Journal of Developmental Disabilities on the theme ‘Community inclusion and intellectual disability: meanings, means and myths’. (April 2015)
Robin lives with his wife and son in rural Aberdeenshire where weather permitting he spends a good part of his ‘spare’ time in the garden or at the family allotment. His other interests include local history, the Scots language and bird watching. He recently succeeded in combining two of those interests in writing A Guide to Scots Bird Names which was nominated by The Guardian as one of the best nature books of 2014!
Robin is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire.