Christine Counsell, a senior lecturer in education at the University of Cambridge, has been appointed as the first director of education for the Inspiration Trust academy chain.
Ms Counsell will support principals at the trust’s 13 schools across East Anglia with a brief to oversee curriculum development. She will also lead the trust’s teacher training and professional development programmes.
Announcing the appointment, Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, said: “This landmark appointment is crucial to the next phase of the Inspiration Trust. Christine’s appointment is about cementing that achievement and making sure we also develop the next generation of school leaders, both for the trust and the wider education sector.”
At Cambridge University, Ms Counsell is responsible for its renowned secondary PGCE history course. She joined the university after teaching history in state secondary schools for ten years and working as a local authority advisory teacher in Gloucestershire.
She has developed a community of school-based initial teacher training mentors who drive the content of the Cambridge PGCE history course.
Last term, Ms Counsell spoke out about the importance of a tough selection process for teacher trainees – as a new system, in which universities were told to recruit as fast as possible or lose their places, meant the Cambridge history PGCE faced closure.
The government brought in emergency measures ensuring a minimum number of places for providers which meant the course was allowed to continue.
Ms Counsell has also advised on curriculum issues and worked with teachers and policy-makers in America, Australia, Singapore and the Middle East.