Jump to accessibility statement Skip to content
Expert for press contact

Academic Partnership Engagement Lead

I am Academic Partnership Engagement Lead in the School of Education and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

My career in Education begun in 1986 when I was awarded my PGCE Primary from Newcastle University. Prior to my work in Initial Teacher Training, I enjoyed a long and successful teaching career in Schools where I achieved a variety of Senior Management roles including the role of Head of First School in a large First and Middle School in the South East. I returned to the North East where I gained the post of Deputy Headteacher of a Primary School and then following this role I achieved the role of Head teacher of a Primary School in 1996. At the time my claim to fame was to be the youngest Head teacher in the County!

I was a Primary Headteacher for eight years during which time I led the school Team to an “Outstanding” Ofsted Inspection outcome and achieved several awards including the Investors in People Award and the Quality Mark, also winning a variety of DfE and Director of Education accolades for excellence.

I moved into Higher Education in 2005 and have worked in Initial Teacher Training in three Universities in a variety of leadership roles. As Head of the School of Education from 2018 until 2021 I was the strategic lead for four main areas of provision, three of which concerned with training teachers at local, regional, national and international levels including Primary and Secondary Initial Teacher Training, International Teacher Education, and Post Compulsory Education and Training. The fourth area, Postgraduate provision for Teacher Professional Development, provided post-qualifying Masters in Education and CPD provision for In-Service teachers. I am very proud that under my leadership as Head of School our Undergraduate Education Courses were ranked 2nd in the UK Guardian University League Tables for 2020 and we achieved the status as largest ITT Provider in the North East.

Prior to this role, I held the position of Primary Initial Teacher Training Lead at the University of Sunderland and before this worked in Initial Teacher Education at Northumbria University in Early Years and Primary ITT in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences where I held a variety of roles in both Undergraduate and Postgraduate provision including the role of Teach First Lead. During my time at Northumbria, I was instrumental to the University achieving two “Outstanding” Ofsted Inspection outcomes for ITT provision. I studied for my Masters during my time at Northumbria University, and successfully achieved this in 2010.

I am committed to the establishment and growth of successful and purposeful reciprocal Partnerships between the University School of Education and Education Providers across our locality, nationally and internationally and the development of alignment across School and University provision. In my previous role of Head of the School of Education I designed and implemented the University of Sunderland Partnership Committee Structure which is strategically led by the Executive Partnership Committee Chaired by a Head teacher, with the Primary, Secondary and PCET Committees feeding into this. My passion and belief that successful Partnerships are essential for quality Teacher Training has fuelled my enthusiasm to focus on the crucial role of Academic Partnership Engagement Lead at this stage in my career and a challenge I relish.

I actively support schools and colleges within our Partnership where I am currently a Founder Member of a local Multi Academy Trust. (MAT).

Teaching and supervision

My teaching expertise lies within areas of pedagogy in Early Years and Primary Education and Qualitative Research Methods.


My interest in programme design and the student experience is reflected in my PhD focus. My research title is: "What are the elements of ITT programmes which demonstrate effective connected practice between HE, ITT Providers and Schools that result in good outcomes for Primary Trainee Teachers which could then inform a signature pedagogy for ITT?"

My study focuses on the perceptions of mentors and trainees across ITT programmes including on campus, school led and independent distance learning (IDL). The intention is not to compare routes but to rather identify what works to ensure trainee success. Findings from this research will inform programme design and delivery across all routes.

My MA is in Early Education and Care. My thesis focus was on student entry into HE and retention and examined the perceptions of both traditional and non-traditional Trainees during their first year in HE on ITT programmes.

  • Initial Teacher Education
  • ITT Programme Design UG and PG
  • Early Years and Primary Education
  • Partnership and Mentoring
  • Leadership and Management
  • Teaching and Learning
  • English and History
  • Integrated and Cross Curricular approaches to teaching
  • Museum Partnerships and Non-School Settings

Last updated 28 February 2024