As Head of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching I work across the University with staff and students to ensure excellence in all aspects of learning, teaching, assessment and digital practice. We engage staff and students in academic debate, discussion and activity generated by creative pedagogic practice and innovation to enhance learning and teaching. The Centre comprises the University’s Learning and Teaching and Technology Enhanced Learning teams who provide professional pedagogical support across the University.
I have worked in the education sector for 24 years. I graduated with a BEd (Movement Specialist) from Liverpool John Moore's University in 1994, and have maintained an active interest in creative approaches to teaching and learning throughout my career.
I came to the University of Derby in 2003 to work in Initial Teacher Education. In 2008 I was offered the opportunity to work in policy making, advising central government on the primary curriculum and additionally to lead a national research project looking at the impact of new curricula ideas on learning.
More recently I have undertaken roles as the Head of Initial Teacher Education before undertaking the role as Head of Student Experience, where I was responsible for creating the University's Student Experience Framework, through collaboration with staff and students.
Now as Head of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching I am committed to ensuring an excellent learning experience which promotes student engagement and success.
2003 – 2006 Kleine Helden in Not or Small Heroes in Trouble: A research project which focused on Boys in Education from a European perspective. This project grew from a small piece of regional research, to a wide scale project working with 12 European countries leading to several publications, a practical teaching course and a website.
2009 – 2012 Education and Gender ‘EdGe’: This project provided an opportunity to work alongside 12 other countries, exploring aspects of gender that impact on education.
2016 – 2019 Homo’poly: which aims to contribute towards a better understanding of homosexuality in secondary and tertiary education. Taking a cross-sectoral approach, the project is active in eight countries. Homo'poly targets students and lecturers in colleges and universities, teachers in secondary education, and students in secondary schools. It is hoped that, as these participating institutions implement, test and evaluate the resources created by the project, a greater understanding of homosexuality will be reached.
I have additional interests in the arts in education, behaviour management and curriculum design where I have published book and chapters. My current research explores narrative inquiry to breathe life into stories of the past focusing on memories of primary school education since 1944.
I have recently spoken at the Education Strategy Forum on enhancing the student experience. In June 2018 I presented at the Staff and Education Development Association (SEDA) conference in Leeds with colleagues from the University, where we presented our recently published Student Experience Framework.
I have presented at a number of conferences related to excellence and creativity in primary education, in Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium and Turkey.
One of my research interests is in arts and education and I have been invited on a number of occasions to lecture at the Central School of Speech and Drama on the educational technique of Mantle of the Expert as a teaching approach.
Experience in industry
I have worked as a primary school teacher, a teacher educator, a primary curriculum advisor at the Qualifications and Curriculum Agency and in Higher Education.
I am currently working with an international research group undertaking research into young peoples’ understanding of homosexuality and creating resources and tools for classroom pedagogy. I have taught in primary schools in The Gambia and at the Gambia Institute for Teacher Training. More recently, I have led student trips to Iceland. I have presented at many international conferences.
Additional interests and activities
I worked with the Youth and Community Theatre groups at the former Derby Playhouse, now Derby Theatre for 15 years. I worked with the Youth Theatre as a movement director, choreographer and Deputy Stage manager. In the Community Theatre I was an actor and have taken part in many productions at Derby Theatre.
In 2006 I was delighted to take a small piece of theatre 'The Yellow Wallpaper' to the Edinburgh Festival where I performed in a one-woman show.
I play the harp and enjoy any sort of live music and live theatre.