Staff Profiles


Mrs Donna Birrell

Faculty Lead, Student Support and Wellbeing

School: Secondary and Post 16 Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 922658

Profile summary

I am a Senior Lecturer in Education within the School of Teacher Education and Development. I have taught across a range of ITE programmes within the undergraduate, postgraduate and School Direct pathways and I currently teach across both the primary and secondary sectors. I am the Lead Tutor for Student Support and Well Being within the Secondary ITE directorate.

My university work has built on years of experience as a primary class teacher and I have focused my 15 years of university work on school mentoring and school partnerships. I have worked closely in partnership with school mentors, ensuring ITE trainees are supported effectively and I have also supported mentors in their work through delivering CPD mentor training sessions for schools.

Research and knowledge exchange

My final Masters dissertation explored the role of the university link tutor and the extent to which continuity exists between approaches taken by associate and permanent university staff whilst supporting student teachers on professional practice.

My research interests lie within mentoring and I am currently working with a small team of colleagues to explore the extent to which learning is cultivated within the School Direct programme.

I presented as part of a team at TEAN 2015 and TEAN 2016  where we considered the importance of undertaking a PGCE alongside the QTS pathway and we considered the extent to which learning is cultivated on the School Direct programme.  

Teaching and subject expertise

I have taught primary maths, primary music and professional studies across a range of ITE programmes.

External activities

I was awarded a Senior Fellow from the Higher Education Agency in 2016.

I am a primary school governor.

Publications and research outputs

Birrell, D. (2013) in Sangster, M. (2013) Developing Teacher Expertise Bloomsbury: London

Bottle, G et al (2005) Teaching Mathematics in the Primary School Continuum International Publishing Group

Written in collaboration with the Primary Mathematics Team at CCCU– the book is to support student teachers and newly qualified teachers in teaching and co-ordinating primary mathematics.


The Nature of Critical Professional Reflection on School Based Programmes - TEAN Conference - May 2015

Are We Cultivating Learning in School Based ITE?  - TEAN Conference - May 2016


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