Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Christine Counsell

Christine Counsell

Areas of Interest


Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Education


Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Christine Counsell for the award of Honorary Doctor of Education.

Christine Counsell lectured for 20 years at Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education. She currently serves as Director of Education at the Inspiration Trust academy chain, and is without question, the leading figure in the field of history teaching in the UK today.

Christine began her career teaching history to state comprehensive pupils in the UK’s South West region. After several years at the chalk-face, she gained her first taste of management with the senior leadership and set-up team at Bristol’s John Cabot City Technology College. Then in 1997, she was invited to take over responsibility for the Secondary PGCE History programme at The University of Cambridge. Over the next 20 years, Christine’s passion and her pioneering approach would help to establish Cambridge as the country’s leader in history education.

In many ways, Christine helped to revolutionise the way in which History teachers are trained. She was central to the process by which the school curriculum has been refocused – placing far greater emphasis on the development of subject knowledge. And she has conducted pioneering work in developing children’s ability to produce high-quality written work in history. Her ground-breaking 1997 text Analytical and Discursive Writing remains key to the development of literacy and high-order thinking among young people.

Christine has won recognition for her work both in the UK and internationally. In 2006 she was awarded the University of Cambridge Pilkington Prize, for excellence in teaching. That same year, she was made a Centenary Fellow by the Historical Association for outstanding services to the promotion of the study of history. And in 2015 she received the Cambridge University Students' Union, Student-led Teaching Excellence Award for Outstanding Lecturing.

Christine was Editor of the Teaching History Journal from 1998 to 2005, and again from 2007 to 2016. From 2005 to 2007, she served as chair of the History Think Tank – part of The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth. And she has received countless invitations from educators around the world seeking expert advice on curriculum matters.

Christine has acted as consultant to the Council of Europe on a variety of projects. She has been:

  • Educational Associate and Adviser to the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, in Cyprus
  • Consultant to the Alliance for Curriculum and Professional Development in World History, at the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Consultant to the Australian Curriculum and Assessment and Reporting Authority
  • Consultant and Trainer with the Singapore Ministry of Education.

In 2016, Christine was appointed Director of Education at the Inspiration Trust – a family of free-to-attend academies across East Anglia. Christine’s role will be to support principals at the trust’s 13 schools, with a brief to oversee curriculum development and lead the trust’s teacher training and professional development programmes.

During her time at The University of Cambridge, Christine maintained a close relationship with Anglia Ruskin University – providing advice to students considering a career in history teaching, and accepting a number of our students onto her course.

She retains strong links with our region, both through her trainees and in her current post.

By honouring Christine we will strengthen the links between our University and the local educational sector, and also recognise the importance of high-quality teacher training at a time when it is under significant pressure.

As an inspirational teacher, trainer, mentor and leader, she will be an outstanding role model for our students, particularly those in our Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education.

We are delighted to welcome Christine to our Anglia Ruskin community.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Christine Counsell for the award of Doctor of Education, honoris causa.