Staff Profiles


Professor Trevor Cooling

Emeritus Professor

School: Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Education Faculty Office

Campus: Canterbury Main Campus

Tel: 01227 922237

Profile summary

My role is to lead on research and knowledge exchange in Christian Education. My background is as a secondary school teacher, where I started my career as a biology teacher and then moved into RE teaching having taken two years out to study for a theology qualification. My PhD is in RE, but my research interests are now focussed on the interaction between Christian theology and the issues that surround the provision of public (i.e. state-funded) education in post-Christian democracies. As well as being a teacher I have worked as Director of a Christian educational charity, as an adviser in a Church of England diocese and as a principal lecturer in theology at the University of Gloucestershire. My current work is focussed on so-called faith schools that are sponsored by Christian organizations and are part of government education provision in Britain. I am particularly interested in Anglican schools. I am currently leading two research projects investigating Christian-ethos secondary schools in England and Wales.

I have a particular interest in Christian pedagogy and was involved in developing the Concept Cracking approach to RE and the What If Learning approach to other subjects ( I regularly speak at conferences and CPD events organized by dioceses and other Christian sponsors of schools. I am also a frequent visitor to Australia where I work with Anglican and other schools in the development of their distinctively Christian character. My writing is focussed on two areas: (a) the place of distinctively Christian education in a religiously diverse context and (b) the development of a distinctively Christian approach to teaching and learning. Recently the publication which has attracted most interest is my Doing God in Education (Theos, 2010) which was the subject of an RSA debate and a special edition of the Oxford Review of Education.

Research and knowledge exchange

I am currently involved in two research projects.

The influence of Christian ethos on teaching and learning in church secondary schools is an investigation into the influence of the What If Learning tool ( on the approaches to teaching and learning taken by 14 teachers in three different church secondary schools. It is anticipated the first publication reporting findings will appear in 2015.

Ten Leading Schools: the spiritual influence of Christian-ethos secondary education is an investigation seeking to identify and disseminate good practice in spiritual development. The book that will come out of the project will include case studies of the ten participating schools that will offer ideas and inspiration to other schools.

Further details can be found at

External activities

I am the deputy editor of the International Journal of Christianity and Education and on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Religious Education. Between 2007-2014 I served as a Board member of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales and was Treasurer for five years. In 2008 I spent two months in Australia as the Visiting Scholar for Anglican Schools Australia when I worked in the six states. In 2014 I was elected as the Deputy General Secretary of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values.


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Last edited: 19/11/2020 13:32:00