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Gillian Parker

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Associate Head of School: Secondary Education ITE Lead, Mathematics ITE Lead

I am passionate about mathematics education and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to experience mathematics in a positive way to enable them to achieve their full potential.

With over 20 years experience of teaching both adults and children, many of whom had experienced maths anxiety, I became dedicated to fostering an open mindset and a creative and inspiring approach to mathematics teaching.

I left my role of 'Raising Achievement Leader for Key Stage 3 Mathematics' in a secondary school and joined the University in 2016 as Primary Education Mathematics Lead. Within this role, I taught mathematics on both the PGCE and BA Primary Education routes to teaching. I later became the lead on both Primary and Secondary Mathematics Education, and was Programme Leader for BSc Mathematics Education. This expanded to leading the secondary undergraduate routes of BSc Physical Education and BSc STEM Education.

In 2019 I was nominated by the Deputy Vice Chancellor for the National Teaching Fellowship with Advance HE. At the same time, I gained Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

In July 2021 I entered the post of Secondary ITT Lead, (Associate Head of School: Secondary Education), where I became responsible for all Secondary Education staff and courses. As my passion remains in mathematics education, I have also maintained my role as Mathematics ITE Lead.  During this time, I developed secondary education curriculum documentation and processes, to ensure that the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework was fully embedded across our secondary education provision.

In 2022, I was part of a team who successfully secured ITT Accreditation under the new DfE ITT review.  

Teaching and supervision

I am the Secondary Education ITE Lead responsible for the BSc STEM suite of courses with Qualified Teacher Status, which include:

I am also responsible for all secondary PGCE courses as follows:

I also lead on all Primary Mathematics for the following courses:

Research interests for potential research students

I am currently undergoing Doctoral studies towards a PhD, where my research critically examines how the ‘Mastery’ mathematics curriculum is being implemented, supported and evaluated in England. In particular, it focuses on the extent to which the use of Singaporean-inspired textbooks and Singaporean/mastery-influenced materials and resources may support the implementation of the mathematics curriculum and the mastery agenda. It also explores how this approach to curriculum implementation, support, and evaluation, impacts teacher professional development, teacher confidence, and other aspects of learning and thinking in the affective domain. Within this, my research critically examines primary mathematics ITT development, across center-based provision, in addition to exploring the role of the mentor and considerations for mentor support and development.

Following my final examination, I am currently completing amendments, which I expect to complete by 2023.

Papers and conferences

  • TEAN June 2020 - presentation of 'Pilot Study: How do pre-service teachers of primary mathematics experience the impact of a 'mastery' pedagogy through the use of Singaporean style textbooks and how does this impact on their development, both on teaching practice and during initial teacher training?'
  • Sunderland School of Education Research Conference – April 2021 – 'Lost in Translation: ITE Trainee Perspectives on Maths Mastery Textbooks'
  • Sunderland School of Education Research Conference – September 2021 and 2022 – 'Ability - A label for distinction or extinction?'


  • PhD study: How are pre-service teachers of primary mathematics impacted by the use of Singapore-style textbooks designed using a 'mastery' pedagogy?
  • Mathematics education

Last updated 10 July 2023