I am Faculty Director for Childhood and Education Studies which is housed within the School of Childhood and Education Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University. I am currently reponsible for four programmes: Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies (Levels 4 & 5), BA (Hons) Chidlhood Studies (Level 6), BA (Hons) Education Studies (Levels 4, 5 & 6) and MA Global and International Studies (Level 7).
Prior to this, I was Programme Director for the Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies (2009-2015) during which time I revalidated the programme. This process ensured that the students continued to be offered opportunities to study at the University and at venues in their local area, and the choice of attending taught sessions during the daytime or in the evenings ('Twilights').
From 2004- 2007, I worked on the Graduate and Registered Teacher Programme (GRTP) in the Postgraduate and Initial Teacher Education Department (POINTED) with shared responsibility for the primary programme. During this time, I also taught History (Professional Studies) to students on the full time and part time PGCE, as well as the BA Primary (QTS) programme and visited students on teaching placements in Rouen and Lyon, France.
I have a B. Ed (Hons) (University of Southampton) from La Sainte Union College of Higher Education (1985). I taught for ten years as a Primary School teacher in a village school near Hastings, East Sussex. I was subject co- coordinator for Physical Education, Mathematics, Humanities and then Special Educational Needs, across the school until 1995.
I also taught for 8 years in a large Junior School in Littlehampton, West Sussex where I had responsibility for assessment across the whole school. Whilst teaching full time, I also studied for an Advanced Diploma in Education (Institute of Education) (1998) and an MA (Ed) (Sussex University) (1999) as well as commencing a Ph.D.
Research and knowledge exchange
Whilst at CCCU, I have continued to take an active interest in the curriculum, how children and students learn and more particularly, how this learning is assessed. I particapted in a joint research project involving students’ learning and how they develop greater self- belief and confidence as they progress through the Foundation degree. I have been involved in a team research project addressing the needs of Foundation degree students in terms of their career development/ employability skills as well as investigating how students perceive that their voices are heard.
As part of knowledge exchange, I was part of a focus group which organised an open day and brochure which promoted non-accredited CPD and consultancy which the then Department of Childhood Studies could offer.
In 2016-17, I have undertaken a small scale research project to investigate what students expectations are of the University and also what students understand by high quality teaching and learning. I have also been part of a focus group concerned with staff well- being. More recently, I have also completed some work on the deployment of and the effective impact of teaching assistants
I continue to take an avid interest in The Cambridge Primary Review and the dissemination of ideas via the regional centre.
Teaching and subject expertise
I continue to teach mainly on the Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies programme. I enjoy teaching Introduction to Childhood Studies to brand new students, many of whom are mature entrants with family commitments and who thought that they would never be able to study for a Degree. I also continue to teach Practical Mathematics and Learning Mathematics as well as Independent Study.
In the past, on the Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies programme, I taught students Reflective Practice, Growth and Development, Theories of Learning, Behaviour for Learning, Practical Mathematics, Learning Mathematics. Language and Learning, Developing Inclusive Practice, Personalised Learning and Sensory Impairment and Physical Conditions.
On the BA (Hons) Childhood Studies, I taught Factors Affecting Learners and Learning , Researching learners and Learning as well as Contemporary Childhood Issues.
My areas of expertise are in History and Assessment and inevitably my teaching always includes historical references and involves the use of different assessment strategies to support students learning!
As Faculty Director, I continue to monitor the different forms of assessment used in assignment work, as well as the effectiveness of the feedback which tutors give to students; how does the feedback support them in moving forward in their learning?
In 2013 I was appointed External Examiner at Bucks New University, High Wycombe to the following Level 5, 6 and 7 programmes: FD (A) Primary Education, BA Professional Practice (Primary Education), PG Cert Educational Practice, I have just completed an additional year in this role.
In February 2016, I was appointed External Advisor/ Academic Reader for the validation of the Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies (Children, Young People and Change) at the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David.
In April 2012, I successfully established a cohort of students at a local school. 10 of the students are based at the school and 7 students have joined them from across Kent. The cohort will work in a very different way to the usual one day per week at CCCU. Students will study their modules on one afternoon per week and occasional Saturdays. This is a very exciting venture and one that I hope to replicate with other groups of schools elsewhere.
In December 2012, I validated a University Diploma programme which commenced in April 2013 and continued until October 2015 It was designed to provide teaching assistants with an opportunity for continuing professional development and viewed as a replacement for courses leading to HLTA status. Most of the students who commenced on the University Diploma progammes progressed to the Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies and the BA (Hons) Childhood Studies programes. One has recently started her MA Studies, another has undertaken School Direct Training, qualified as a Teacher and will take up a teaching post in September.
Whilst working on the Graduate and Registered Teacher Programme, I was invited to give two lectures to a group of Initial Teacher Trainers at IUFM, Lyon (France). I also made observational visits to GRTP and PGCE MFL students on school placements in Rouen, St Etienne and Lyon.
Publications and research outputs
In December 2016, I had a chapter for a book published on Supporting Children’s Learning in History and Geography: Gill, J. History, Geography and Learning about the World in Ritchie, C (Ed.) 2017 Exploring Children’s Learning 3 – 11 years Abingdon: Routledge.