Sarah Purdy


I am a Associate Professor in Midwifery, the lead for postgraduate midwifery programmes and workforce development.

In my role as postgraduate programme lead, I have primary responsibility for the strategic and operational quality of the post registration offer for midwives at Kingston University. I work closely with colleagues to guarantee these programmes provide an excellent learning experience and fulfil the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards for continuing professional development. I ensure an ongoing, collaborative relationship with our clinical practice partners to support midwives in their lifelong learning and to ensure they have the best possible opportunities to maintain and develop successful midwifery careers in clinical practice, management or education. I have fostered fully integrated partnership working between the academic and clinical teams to enhance the learning experience and to reinforce the interconnected nature of the midwifery in all spheres of practice. 

Throughout my professional career I have focussed on the role of the midwife as an advocate and educator. I spent twenty years in a variety of clinical, managerial and educational roles within the NHS maternity services. I also practised as an independent midwife for a number of years. This extensive experience underpins my teaching and curriculum development at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

External appointments as external examiner and on curriculum validation panels have enabled me to actively participate in the sharing of best educational practice and contribute to the inter-university quality assurance process.

I am currently a Doctoral student at the University of Brighton.

Academic responsibilities

Associate Professor


  • Registered Midwife
  • MA Midwifery
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education
  • Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy
  • Registered Nurse
  • NMC Registered Teacher
  • MRes Education

Teaching and learning

I was course lead for pre-registration midwifery programmes between 2016 and 2021, taking overall responsibility for the quality and structure of these courses. Since September 2021, I have been programme lead for postgraduate and workforce programmes. This programme provides ongoing learning and career development opportunities for qualified midwives. In addition to this role, I have teaching responsibilities on all pre-registration pathways. 

In 2020 I managed the pre-registration curriculum redesign project, which led to successful NMC and University validation of four new midwifery programmes. The curriculum reflects the new NMC Standards for Midwifery (2019) and embraces the KU22+ agenda.  Taking a genuinely inclusive approach to both development and structure, these programmes are designed to deliver excellent, innovative teaching and learning to our future midwives and will equip them to become high-calibre professional clinicians. They are underpinned by the principles of engaging, inclusive content and authentic assessment which enable students to develop and master the knowledge and skills required to become valued members of the midwifery profession.

This curriculum provides the first direct-entry Master's level midwifery education course in London. The programme design was commended by both the NMC and University for its innovation, quality and execution.

I have provided expertise and shared good practice in my roles as external examiner and as a panel member for other PSRB programme validation events. I currently mentor external examiners both within Kingston University and externally.

As a module leader I have developed innovative teaching and assessment to support final year student midwives gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to transition from students to registered midwives. These include peer-led simulation sessions and filmed OSCE assessments. 

I supervise MSc students both within the Department of Midwifery and the wider Joint Faculty.

Teaching Publications:

Purdy, S. (2016) Basic Life support in maternity. RCM i-learn online learning module. RCM

Purdy, S. (2016) Infection prevention and control: an overview. RCM i-learn online learning module. RCM

Teaching Presentations:

Purdy, S. (2018) Filmed Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) to support student skills development. [poster] Midwifery Education Conference. 05/07/18, Bournemouth University

Purdy, S. (2018) Filmed Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) to support student skills development. [poster] Simply Better: Researching Assessment Practices – Improving Student Outcomes. 13/09/18, University of Southampton

Qualifications and expertise

  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Learning & Teaching in Higher Education
  • NMC Teacher

Undergraduate courses taught

Postgraduate courses taught


Number of items: 1.

Conference or Workshop Item

Purdy, Sarah (2018) Filmed Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) to support student skills development. In: Second International Midwifery Education Conference 2018; 05-06 Jul 2018, Bournemouth, U.K.. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Wed Apr 24 07:35:28 2024 BST.


I am currently undertaking a Professional Doctorate at the University of Brighton. My research area is midwifery leadership development.

Research Publications:

Purdy, S. (2019) Development of Midwifery Craft Expertise [poster] . Postgraduate Education Conference. 15/06/19, University of Brighton


Number of items: 1.

Conference or Workshop Item

Purdy, Sarah (2018) Filmed formative OSCE to support student skills development. In: Simply Better : Researching Assessment Practices – Improving Student Outcomes; 13 Sep 2018, Southampton, U.K.. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Wed Apr 24 06:48:59 2024 BST.

Professional practice, knowledge exchange and impact

In order to ensure our midwifery programmes continue to meet the needs of the profession, I meet regularly with senior midwifery leaders from our partner Trusts and deputise for the Lead Midwife for Education at national-level meetings. This collegiate working ensures high standards are achieved and excellent working relationships are maintained.

In order to meet the Government's objective to increase midwife numbers, I have developed links with maternity units outside London. Kingston University is consequently now able to offer midwifery placement options at two additional NHS Foundation Trusts in Surrey, broadening the appeal to potential students. We have also significantly increased our placement capacity at our longstanding collaborative partner Trusts in South West London.

As lead for workforce development I ensure the Department of Midwifery maintains a portfolio of attractive courses which meet the needs of qualified midwives and our NHS partners, both locally and nationally. I work with colleagues to develop and deliver high quality education programmes. The postgraduate portfolio has been significantly updated over the last two years and the move to a predominantly online delivery model has significantly increased registrations, with applications from professionals around the UK.

I chair Fitness to Practice panels within HSCE and have significant experience as a panel member and advisor in recruitment and investigatory processes both in university and healthcare settings.

Professional Practice Publications:

Purdy, S. & Read, J. (2019) 'Employer-led models of midwifery supervision', in: Marshall, J [ed] Myles Professional Studies for Midwifery Education and Practice: Concepts and Challenges. London, Elsevier, pp 159-174.

Professional and scholarly affiliations

  • Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Royal College of Midwives
  • Association of Radical Midwives

Leadership and management

As lead for postgraduate midwifery programmes and workforce development, I have a significant leadership role within the Department of Midwifery and the wider Faculty.

I take overall responsibility for the smooth running of the post-registration programmes programmes; ensuring the course structure, assessment schedule and practice placements are organised to meet the needs of the candidates and maintain high academic and professional standards.

The Department of Midwifery team has changed significantly over the last few years and it has been exciting and rewarding to support experienced clinicians transition into their new academic roles. The move from clinical practice to higher education can be daunting; a welcoming atmosphere and positive early experience is essential. An approach to leadership which recognises the individual value and unique contribution of every member of the team has underpinned the significant  achievements of the Department of Midwifery in recent years.  Ensuring everyone has the resources they need to provide an excellent learning environment for midwifery students is at the heart of my role. However I also have a wider responsibility as a senior member of the midwifery team to ensure staff have opportunities to develop their careers in education. This approach benefits individuals, but also supports the sustainability of the department through effective succession planning.

In addition to the departmental academic team, I also lead the collaboration with our clinical partners. I particularly enjoyed leading the curriculum redesign project from inception to successful validation and implementation in 2020. This three-year process was a truly collaborative endeavour between the Department of Midwifery and our practice colleagues and has resulted in a portfolio of programmes which exceed the expectations of the NMC and were commended at validation.

Prior to moving into higher education, I held a number of senior posts within the NHS. The knowledge, expertise and relationships I developed in these roles has been invaluable in my current position; most recently in securing new midwifery placements with two Surrey Trusts and ensuring capacity for the increasing cohort sizes.

University responsibilities

  • Course Lead, Pre-registration Midwifery Programmes
  • Workforce Development Lead