Staff Profiles


Mr Graham Birrell

Senior Lecturer

School: Faculty of Education Assistant Dean's Office

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 922476

Profile summary

I work predominantly in the field of initial teacher education and work across all the programmes that are involved in primary education. Before joining the University I was a primary school teacher in schools in Kent. I am subject leader for History and lead most of the history courses in the Faculty of Education. As well as history teaching I also visit schools, both to see students on placements and as part of other projects. During my time at the University I have also worked on many of the primary and secondary professional studies programmes in the faculty.

Research and knowledge exchange

I am currently researching into the impact of free market policies in education. I am particularly interested in the establishment of new schools such as academies and free schools and part of my research is looking at Swedish free schools and Charter schools in the USA.

As part of my work within the faculty I have been involved in several major projects, the most significant was the TDA Primary Languages project which involved student teacher exchanges with four countries in Europe. As part of this I travelled extensively to visit our partner institutions and their schools.

I am currently leading on the school element of the €1.8m Dover Bronze Age Boat Project with Canterbury Archaeological Trust. This involves promoting historical and inter-cultural understanding in Channel schools in the UK, France and Belgium.

Teaching and subject expertise

I am passionate about teaching creative and evidence based history in schools. I encourage all my students to use genuine historical sources with children, so that pupils can take on the role of the historian. I am also a member of the Historical Association.

I am very interested in how the University and the Faculty of Education can work with schools in the future, particularly in the light of government policy changes to initial teacher education. As part of this I am acting as the University link to one of our Teaching School partnerships.

External activities

I have represented the University at external events such as the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers. I am currently an External Examiner for the PGCE Primary programme at Roehampton University and have extensive experience of working with External Examiners from other Universities. I have also been an external panelist for the validations of programmes at other Higher Education Institutions.

Publications and research outputs

For seven years I led the PGCE Primary (Full-time) and with two other programme directors I published a book, ‘Succeeding on your PGCE’ to offer advice and guidance to prospective and current PGCE students.


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Last edited: 29/01/2019 15:27:00