Rebekah teaches on postgraduate courses in education at the University of Cumbria. Her background is in secondary Religious Studies, and she has worked in schools in Lincolnshire, Birmingham and Blackburn. Her first role in a school was as a teaching assistant, supporting young people with a range of special educational needs. More recently, Rebekah also held a post as a teaching and learning coordinator, during which time she became interested in metacognitive learning approaches and opportunities for peer to peer staff learning.

Before coming to the University of Cumbria, Rebekah spent a short period of time in a democratic German free school for children aged 6-17 (Freischule). She is currently a primary school governor. As a result of her experiences, Rebekah is interested in how educational experiences vary between different contexts and enjoys learning about different approaches to education in schools as well as home education. She is committed to research and practice which challenges educational inequality. 

Qualifications and memberships

PhD - Social Justice and Education (University of Cumbria)

MA - Educational Leadership (University of Warwick)

PGCE with QTS (Birmingham City University) 

MA (Hons) - Theological Studies (University of St Andrews)

British Educational Research Association - early career researcher network representative (north of England)

Academic and research interests

Rebekah's PhD research focuses on how teachers of Religious Studies construct and promote tolerance and mutual respect in their work with 11-14 year olds. Her research uses discourse analysis in order to analyse the accounts of teachers. Rebekah is keen to connect and partner with other researchers who are engaged in the field of Religious Studies/Religion and Worldviews education and values education. She is the early career researcher representative for the north of England for the British Educational Research Association. 

Her other research interests include: Islamophobia, values education, educational leadership, educational inequality, qualitative methodologies and creativity in teaching and learning.

Rebekah's recent research projects have included a study of Education and Democracy focused on land use and an evaluation of the work of a local youth arts charity.

Research supervision

MA dissertation student supervisor

PhD student supervisor. Rebekah is keen to hear from students who wish to study a PhD in the fields of education, social justice, religious education, values education and home education.


Ackroyd, R. (2024) Tolerance and mutual respect: what do they mean and why does it matter? British Educational Research Association Blog. Available at:

Ackroyd, R., Elton-Chalcraft, S and Kotwal, I. (forthcoming) 'Visits, visitors persona dolls and interfaith dialogue' in Elton-Chalcraft, S. (ed). Teaching Religious Education Creatively. Routledge.

Chalcraft, Elton-Chalcraft, S., Ackroyd, R., & Jones, H. (2023). Reading Charlotte Mason’s The Saviour of the World in past and present contexts: biblical studies in the classroom. Charlotte Mason Institute.

Ackroyd, R. (2021) 'Don't believe the hype: being an ECR needn't be a lonely existence' Times Higher Education Blog, 18th November. Available at: