Worldviews specialist helps future school and classroom leaders

Worldviews specialist helps future school and classroom leaders
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Religious Education and leadership expert Dr Mark Chater is joining the University of Cumbria’s respected Institute of Education.

An author, researcher and consultant on religion and worldviews in education, Dr Chater has enjoyed a career spanning over four decades and developed a wealth of specialist knowledge and expertise within the fields of Religious Education, church schools and strategic charity work.

A former national policy-making advisor, Dr Chater becomes a Professor of Practice in Worldviews Education.

News of his appointment follows the recent publication of a research review into religious education by the regulator Ofsted.

Dr Chater will help to enhance the student teacher experience and support staff within the University of Cumbria’s Institute of Education and its Learning, Education and Development (LED) research centre.

The professor of practice role at the University of Cumbria recognises individuals eminent in their field of practice and seeks to draw on this talent and standing to enhance the curriculum, experience and environment provided to students.

Dr Chater will play a key role in developing masterclass sessions for student teachers.

Liaising with the university’s LED research team, Dr Chater will also help devise events within the field of religious education and leadership including a conference focusing on post-pandemic education and leadership.

The University of Cumbria’s Institute of Education is built on a legacy of education training spanning more than a century and includes foundations created by Charlotte Mason in the Lake District, and St Martin’s College.

Dr Chater said: “The role of Professor of Practice in Worldviews Education is, for me, an intersection of practice and reflection within a university that has such a well-established reputation for excellence in its education for professional sectors.

“The education system faces huge challenges which have been exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic including the growing attainment gap created by intergenerational poverty, the culture wars between traditionalists and progressives over the curriculum and pedagogy, funding and policy challenges in relation to teacher supply and ITE, and the future shape of RE or worldviews education in the light of the Commission report of 2018.

“I hope to contribute to bridging the research-policy and practice-research divides in educational life, as well as enhancing the university’s local, regional, national and global footprint in some pressing frontier issues in education.”

Holding various regional, national and international roles, Dr Chater is also currently a theology and ethos adviser for a UK-based Christian charity; a trustee/director of a diocesan multi-academy trust operating schools across Cumbria and the North East; and he sits on several advisory committees relating to worldviews education, diversity education and RE policy.

Ruth Harrison-Palmer, director of the Institute of Education, University of Cumbria, said: “Mark will make a significant and valuable contribution to the delivery of our university strategy, which places a strong emphasis on meeting current and future skills needs in the region including that of supporting key workers of tomorrow such as educators.

“Not only this, he will also be involved in activities such as development of our portfolio and providing continued professional development opportunities to those already working within the fields of teaching and the wider education sector.

“By bringing in experienced and respected figures to work in collaboration with the university, our students gain even more real world experience from those who are actively involved at the highest level.”

* Pictured: Ruth Harrison-Palmer and Mark Chater