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Joey Oliva 

Formation of Women Leaders: the effects and influence of Catholic Education in the Philippines 


Joey's research investigates the extent to which Catholic Education affects and influences the formation of women leaders in the Philippines. The Catholic Church is particularly sensitive to the call from every part of the world for a more just society. It tries to make its own contribution towards the promotion of the common good in various sectors but more importantly in the educational field. The research will identify the distinctive nature of Catholic Education, investigate how the sacramental vision of leadership is inculcated among students, and lastly, critically analyse the contribution of Catholic Education to the formation of female students during their formative years. The study will discuss the cultural context of women leadership in the Philippines and how it emerged throughout history from pre-colonial to current context of women and leadership. 

Lynn Elder

Parents as the primary educator: Rhetoric or reality?


Lynn's study focuses on the role of the parent in their child’s spiritual and academic development. The study is not new as this has been a focus since at least the time of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Aquinas put forward that parents are the primary educator and that this obligation lasts a lifetime. However, Pope Francis in 2015 stated that parents need support in this role. He recognised that parents need to be involved and need to take this role seriously. Therefore, it is an ongoing issue. The study looks at what schools perceive to be parental engagement and what parents see as their role. The study then moves on to interview school staff to understand their perception.

Nicholas Sutton

Clashing symbols: seeking compatibility between postmodern culture and faith within the context of Post-16 Catholic education


Building upon current research within the field of Catholic education, the research thesis is seeking to better understand the communication of Catholic Christian faith to students within post-16 Catholic education. The implications of culture have significantly impacted upon Catholic schools in their mission of faith formation. Many scholars have noted the challenges associated with the theme of postmodern culture, using the term as a gregarious adjective, and emphasising its relativist nature. The research however, in reference to Michael Paul Gallagher’s work, examines the underpinning hidden sensibility affiliated with postmodern consumerism, in contrast with a renewed sense of searching for belonging and wonder. Conducting a regional study of Catholic post-16 institutions, and analysing the student voice, the research seeks to examine the synergies and dissonances of postmodernity in relation to the communication of Catholic Christian faith to post-16 students.

Fr Joseph Kwame Donkor (part-time)

""Joseph's doctoral study examines the extent to which Catholic school teachers contribute to the holistic formation of young people in Catholic schools in the current cultural context in the Diocese of Goaso, Ghana. In addition to Joseph's doctoral research, they are sub-dean of St George’s Cathedral, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark, London.


Ms Julie-Anne Tallon (part-time)

""Julie-Anne's doctoral study is an investigation into the impact of encountering Christ in Catholic Primary Schools on leaders at all levels in a contemporary context: opportunities and challenges. Julie-Anne is evaluating schools’ understanding of encountering Christ and how this is purposefully planned for, how this impact on leaders at all levels, and how this empowers scholars to live out the mission of the Church. As well as being a doctoral researcher, Julie-Anne is director of a Catholic Primary Partnership.


Philip Robinson

PhilipThe working title of Philip's doctoral research is ‘Can Religious Education in Catholic schools be Objective, Critical and Pluralistic (OCP)? An investigation into the views of Catholic religious education advisers at the frontier of faith and culture. In Philip's research, they have worked with RE advisers who are always at the forefront of introducing curriculum change, whether and how they believed that religious education in Catholic schools could pass the OCP test. Philip's other role is as chief inspector, Catholic Schools Inspectorate.

Christina Lee

Passing on the Baton: maintenance of the charism of the Maryknoll Sisters in a Contemporary Context – Opportunities and Challenges

""The study explores the history, influence, and Charism of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, focusing on their establishment of schools, particularly the one passed to the sponsorship of its alumnae in Hong Kong. Christina's supervisors are Prof John Lydon and Dr Caroline Healy. Christina is also director of the Wofoo Foundation, which is based in Hong Kong.


Michael Antram

Michael AntramSet against the backdrop of recruitment challenges to school leadership positions in England and Wales, the sustained dissatisfaction over time of British schoolchildren with life in general and education in particular (The Good Childhood Report), and the national polarisation of views regarding educational telos; Michael’s doctoral research investigates the professional and personal qualities needed for leadership of holistic approaches to education in the context of Catholic secondary schools in England. Utilising interviews with serving secondary Headteachers across a broad cross-section of the country, the qualitative research explores questions of Catholic school authenticity, educational intent, and philosophical distinctiveness. The research seeks to inform the formation of Catholic school leaders of the future amidst consideration of what Catholic education may offer the current educational context of performativity serving socio-economic ends. 

Patricia Elaine Arundell

The benefits and challenges of using song as a pedagogical tool in primary RE.

Elaine ArundellElaine’s research looks at how song can be used to support development in RE within the primary classroom. Song is not a new phenomenon for learning as it has been around for millennia as a way of passing down stories and the lived experience from different cultures and faiths. Although there is evidence to demonstrate the benefits of using music and song throughout the curriculum, the link between song and RE is an area which is under-developed. This research will look at how song can be used within the primary RE classroom in various contexts including Catholic schools and others with and without a religious character. It will explore how song can be employed in different ways to aid knowledge and understanding,  expression and personal development. Lastly, it will suggest ways forward for primary practitioners to use song in RE to enhance learning and motivation.

Elaine is a Primary Religious Education Advisor for Westminster Diocese