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A number of resident and visiting staff further the work of the Centre as well as an External Advisory Group and Ecclesial, University and School partners.

Internal Staff

Aidan-Cottrell-BoyceAidan Cottrell-Boyce

Aidan Cottrell-Boyce completed his PhD at the Divinity Faculty of the University of Cambridge in 2018, his current research concerns the nature and extent of New Conspiracist beliefs which incorporates strands of theology, Catholic philosophy of education and history. Aidan has also published recently on the history of anti-Catholic conspiracy theory, particularly focussing on the period of Catholic emancipation. His recent writing has appeared in the Tablet and on the History of Education blog.

matthew-dellMatthew Dell

Current PGCE RE & MA Education lead, Matthew has a strong practitioner background but here at St. Mary’s is across several current initiatives. These include writing projects with Aidan Cottrell-Boyce on School liturgy, a multi-institutional recruitment and retention initiative for the Catholic Education Service co-ordinating local and national organizations and the establishment of a new entity ATCRE – the Association of Catholic Teachers of Religious Education. Now with over 1200 members, it hosts day conferences that attract talented speakers from across the RE spectrum.

susan-elderfieldSusan Elderfield

An experienced teacher and school leader, Susan is currently working with the Archdiocese of Southwark and St. Mary’s on the new Government initiative around Apprenticeships. This work-based qualification has Youth Ministry and Chaplaincy as its focus and is drawing students from Southwark to Nottingham, from Brentwood to Westminster and beyond. Susan brings a wealth of insight to her role and having welcomed a January cohort she is readying the team for another group beginning in September!

claire-fernandesClaire Fernandes

Primary RE expert, Claire works part-time at St. Mary’s and is active in a variety of roles. She currently leads modules on Theological literacy for the Primary Education with QTS BA (Hons) degree at St Mary’s and has published resources for the liturgical year in Pastoral Review.

david-finchamDavid Fincham

Serving on the M.A. Catholic School Leadership, David’s recent research paper, ‘Headteachers in Catholic schools in England: contemporary challenges. A follow-up research study: part 1’, can be found in the 2022 International Studies in Catholic Education. His recent book Being the Good Shepherd: Pastoral Care in Schools is available through Amazon.

gerald-graceGerald Grace

Emeritus professor, Gerald Grace, KSG, KHS. FSES has been a leading theorist in Catholic Education for over half a century. His development of the concept of ‘Spiritual Capital’ articulated an educational reality applicable to both primary and secondary schools as well as international contexts. He founded International Studies in Catholic Education and his global contribution was marked in November 2021 with a festschrift celebrating his achievements.

sarah-greenSarah Green

Primary RE expert, Sarah is forming students for educational futures and has recently completed research on the classroom experience of pupils. Sarah leads on RE and World Religions for Primary PGCE students at St Mary’s. She has recently contributed to a TEDx Talk exploring Teaching of Values to Children - At home or At school?

cynthia-harperCynthia Harper

Recipient of the Millennium Fellowship for Religious Education from the Farmington Institute in 2000, Cindy joined St Mary's University in 2002. Senior Lecturer in Primary R.E. and the PGCE MA, Cindy delivers modules across the undergraduate, postgraduate and work based routes working with the science and RE teams. Having worked in schools in the Midwest of America, the UK and in France and forms part of the Epistemic Insight project with CCCU.  Cynthia recently helped deliver a TED talk titled: ‘Is it the job of schools to teach our children values?’

caroline-healyCaroline Healy

Programme lead for the MA Catholic School Leadership, Caroline is also a mentor and director on the professional doctorate in education. Dr Healy is currently helping co-ordinate the CERIAN scholarship scheme - an international project to build educational capacity involving post-doctoral African researchers. An outstandingly exacting scholar, she is much sought after as a supervisor.

john-lydonJohn Lydon

Prof Lydon is a well-travelled academic who has given recent keynote addresses in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Chicago. He is an Executive Member of the World Union of Catholic Teachers which has consultative status with UNESCO. He is the author of numerous articles and his latest book published by Gracewing in 2018 is ‘Contemporary Perspectives on Catholic Education’ . John is also editor of International Studies in Catholic Education published by Taylor and Francis.

mary-mihovilovicMary Mihovilovic

Secondary RE expert, and Section 48 inspector, Mary leads post-graduate provision for St. Mary’s Institute of Education which entails responsibility across a range of disciplines including the M.A. pathways in Leading Innovation and Change and Religious Education. Dr Mihovilovic is currently conducting longitudinal research into the experience of non-Catholic teachers in Catholic schools and vice versa.

karen-northKáren North

Expert in Faith Transmission and religious practice among Young Adults, Dr North is Programme Lead for CCRS – the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies. She has published print and video resources for sacramental preparation and catechesis and completed two recent feasibility reports for the Archdiocese of Southwark and the national organizing body for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Her PhD research Disrupting the Limbo of Non-belonging has been lauded by Bishops and academics alike.

Naved-SiddiquiNaved Siddiqui

Active across a range of inter-faith and religious literacy initiatives, Naved is lead for the soon to be launched CERRL short course in Islamic studies. Aimed at teachers and indeed anyone with an interest in developing their competency in matters relating to Muslim doctrine, practice and culture, this new award will come on stream in 2022-23. A pilot/ taster set of sessions will occur in May 2022 – watch this space for details.

Ruth-WalbankRuth Walbank

Ruth is a Research Associate exploring the impact of the Laudato Si’ encyclical among young people in the Diocese of Salford.


Visiting scholars

Simon-UttleyVisiting Prof Simon Uttley

Simon is Head of Blessed Hugh Farringdon School in Reading and an Associate Professor at Notre Dame University’s London Global Gateway. He contributes fully to CERRL, is involved in the supervision of research and is a sought-after speaker. He has contributed to scholarly and sector specific journals and his latest initiative is the formation of Koinonia – a consortium of schools in partnership with St. Mary’s addressing research and CPD.

peter-wardVisiting Fellow Peter Ward

Peter is an expert on the history of Religious Education in this country and through a long and distinguished career, has contributed greatly to the shaping of curricula in RE. He is vice-chair of NBRIA – National Board of Religious Education Inspectors and Advisers and continues to advise dioceses on curriculum policy.


Interdisciplinary colleagues

CERRL also enjoys partnerships with colleagues across the University such as Philip Booth, Roland Daw, Christine Edwards-Leis, Gerardo Ghilberti and Anna Lise Gordon who each make insightful contributions to our discussions and strategic decision-making.