Meet the team.
Meet the team.
Dr Kathryn Wright, Chief Executive
I am responsible for leading the strategic vision and planning of the trust, developing good connections with outside organisations, designing CSTG’s work with and for teachers, and reporting regularly to our trustees.
After teaching in East London secondary schools for a number of years, I became the RE adviser to the London Borough of Newham before going freelance in 2005. Until April 2019, I worked as a consultant for Culham St Gabriel’s leading the Teach:RE course programme. In addition, I was the RE adviser for the Diocese of Norwich, and also supported the Dioceses of Ely and St Albans. I have also enjoyed being a RE Quality Mark assessor and a Section 48 inspector. I am a co-opted member of the NATRE executive and am on the Board of the RE Council of England and Wales. My doctorate in 2018 developed a theological framework for RE pedagogy in Church of England schools. In my spare time I love to go running and travelling, as well as reading and baking.
Culham St Gabriel’s Trust has played a significant role in my own career, and this is one reason I am delighted to be its Chief Executive.
Deborah Elwine, Office and Operations Manager
I am responsible for managing the Trust’s office and general communications. This includes financial management and reporting, processing grant information and servicing Trust meetings. I am also responsible for administering the Teach:RE courses.
I love Culham St Gabriel’s commitment to supporting teachers of religious education to help young people develop and create a more responsible and tolerant society.
I am a qualified Registered General Nurse, but I left nursing several years ago to become a Financial Adviser and Company Secretary. I joined the Culham St Gabriel’s team in 2006.
Tracey Francis, Digital Manager
I manage the Trust’s online presence and data as well as supporting events and managing online communication.
After years implementing IT systems for organisations, followed by a period of self-employment I took a career break to raise a family.
I am delighted to be working for Culham St Gabriel’s. It’s very rewarding to use my skills to support our teachers of religion and worldviews in helping our children to develop tolerance and understanding of other people in our world.
Josh Cass, Lead Consultant: Advocacy
Advocating for an education in Religion and Worldviews is central to Culham St Gabriel’s strategy. Engaging with questions of religion and belief have been central to my work for nearly twenty years. During that time, I have developed many projects intended to bring different people and communities together to explore ideas which matter to them.
I work part time for one of the UK’s leading interfaith organisations, the Faith & Belief Forum, and prior to that I have worked with organisations including Fodip (the Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine), the Encompass Trust and St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. I am also a founding member of the Forum for Religion and International Affairs and have provided consultative support for organisations including: the British Council, Cumberland Lodge, UNAOC and OSCE/ODIHR.
I am thrilled to be working with Culham St Gabriel’s, an organisation I have known for many years, and whose commitment to the promotion of the understanding of religion and worldviews is something which I share and am passionate about.
Dr Kate Christopher, Lead Consultant Professional Development
Kate teaches part-time in a Secondary school in East London and works as an independent RE adviser, working with teachers to develop the curriculum. Kate’s PhD is in Philosophy of Education, bringing philosophical thinking to bear on what is claimed for RE in schools. Kate’s interests are in curriculum design and the capacity of Religion and Worldviews to offer a more textured and critical understanding of the world for 21st Century pupils.
Claire Clinton, Lead Consultant for our Leadership Programme
I am passionate about teachers being able to access quality professional development and learning, as well as training up new leaders in education. I’m thrilled to chair the Leadership Programme Steering Group for Culham St Gabriel’s.
I also work with schools across Newham, Barking and Dagenham leading professional development around RE, RSHE, Collective Worship, SMSC, British Values, P4C and coaching and mentoring. As an advisory teacher I have over 20 years’ experience, working in Essex, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham and Newham with schools, LAs and on SCITTS at primary and secondary levels.
I am part of NASACRE executive, secretary of the London and SE AREIAC group and the London RE ambassador.
Harriet Johnson, Lead Consultant: Advocacy- Champions
I’ve been working with a great range of agencies, charities and businesses for over 20 years and my role usually involves developing all manner of communications for them – press releases, reports, copywriting, media campaigns, new business pitches and more!
I first came across Culham St Gabriel’s Trust in 2010 when I worked with 3:nine who were (and still are) providing communications support to the Religious Education Policy Unit. I enjoy working with diverse organisations whose remit is to make a difference – such as supporting communications with interfaith experts the Faith & Belief Forum, providing a voice to encourage the media to tell Eventbrite’s early story as it set out to democratise ticketing, and, in recent years, providing PR support to everywoman who are the leading organisation for the advancement of women in business.
I’m a natural communicator who likes to forge connections and firmly believe that building engagement with stakeholders is a one of the best ways for organisations to secure valuable recognition. There is a great opportunity to overlay the lens of religion and worldviews on all aspects of education, business and society; I’m excited to support the work Culham St Gabriel’s and its partners are doing to drive endorsement and collaboration for such an interesting, diverse and important part of our learning experience.
Dr Kevin O’Grady, Lead Consultant for Research
Research is threaded through all of the Culham St Gabriel’s strategic objectives. I take a lead on these elements as well as working with our Masters Scholarship participants.
I taught and led RE in six different English secondary schools over 30 years, before moving to Andalucía and teaching in a primary school for a further two. I was also a member of the Sheffield SACRE and agreed syllabus conference. In parallel, I was a part-time graduate student, associate fellow and research fellow at the University of Warwick, contributing to various projects including the EC-funded Religion in Education: A Contribution to Dialogue or a Factor of Conflict in transforming societies of European countries? (REDCo) (2006-2009). My book Religious Education as a Dialogue with Difference was published by Routledge in 2019 and I am currently working on a follow-up titled Conceptualising Religion and Worldviews for the Classroom. As well as Culham St Gabriel’s, I have acted as a consultant to the European Wergeland Centre, the Institute for Ismaili Studies and Sheffield SACRE, and as an adviser to Cohesion Sheffield.
My main interest is how research can improve RE teaching. We are here to support excellence in religion and worldviews, and that is why I am delighted to be part of the Culham St Gabriel’s team.
Our leadership programme mentors provide support, expertise and advice. Our current team are:
John Keast OBE
I have been a trustee of Culham St Gabriels since 2004. I have had a career in Religious Education as teacher, adviser, Ofsted Inspector, and consultant. I worked for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as manager for RE, Citizenship and PSHE, then the Department for Education as national RE adviser. I have chaired the RE Council for England and Wales, and worked for the Council of Europe in Inter-religious education. I am also a school governor in two schools.
The Reverend Canon Peter Ballard
I am the Chief Executive of DBE Services, the trading arm of the Dioceses of Blackburn, Carlisle, Chester, Liverpool, and Manchester. As well as being a Trustee for Culham St Gabriel’s, I am a Director of several charities including being the Honorary Treasurer of the National Society. I was Director of Education for the Blackburn Diocese and then Archdeacon of Lancaster. I am currently the Vice Chair of a large secondary MAT and a governor of a small community primary school. I was Chair of St Martin’s College and then the first Pro Chancellor of the University of Cumbria. In my spare time I am self-supporting Vicar of a country parish south of Lancaster. I chair the Culham St Gabriel’s Finance and General Purposes Committee.
Revd Mark Bennet
I trained as a Chartered Accountant before becoming a Parish Priest, in which role I have served in large parishes with many and varied schools. I was on the Diocesan Board of Education in Chelmsford Diocese and have more recently served nine years on the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education. Locally, in my parish in Thatcham, I am a foundation governor of our local church primary school – Thatcham Park School, and have also chaired the Directors of the Kennet School Academies Trust – a MAT which has grown out of our local, non-church secondary school. I care that pupils in all our schools come to understand the faith context of the world in which they are living and also know something of how a faith component contributes to human identity, but I have become a trustee mainly to contribute from my financial background.
Professor Robert Bowie
I began my career in education as a teacher of English as a foreign language first in Istanbul and then in Japan, before training to teach RE and then working in two Catholic schools in Kent, latterly as Head of RE. While teaching I began writing textbooks and worked on a range of RE websites for the BBC, the Guardian and for RE:ONLINE. Moving to university work, I led the secondary teacher education courses for secondary RE, and completed a doctorate in Dignity and Human Rights Education. In the RE World I became Chair of AULRE, an association for tutors and lecturers in RE. I moved into primary research and now lead NICER, an educational research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. I teach ethics and supervise doctorates in various aspects of Christian education and Church schooling. I like walking, trying to grow vegetables and also find meaning through a Christian worldview.
I am privileged to be a trustee of the trust and I currently work as a Director’s Assistant and Primary Adviser for the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education in South London developing Church of England education. Prior to this role I was the Senior Education Manager for Hertfordshire supporting the effective delivery of education across the whole local authority. For two years I was the Primary and Early Years Education Officer for the States of Guernsey. I have a particular interest and specialism in improving the educational achievements of disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils. I am a Freeman of the City of London and a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teachers.
I am a Managing Director and Senior Fund Manager for Invesco Real Estates. I have over 20 years of financial services industry experience, initially in corporate finance and subsequently as a manager of global real asset investments on behalf of institutional clients. I have been involved, as a Trustee, with Culham St Gabriel’s, and its predecessor St Gabriel’s Trust, since 2003.
As Assistant General Secretary for Education Policy and Research at the National Education Union, I lead the development of policy on issues including curriculum, assessment, accountability and professionalism. I work with our members in schools and colleges and with key stakeholders including government, to influence change. I started my career as a primary teacher with responsibility for RE, teaching in both English and Welsh.
The Revd Canon Nigel Genders
As the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer I lead the work of the Church of England Education Office which serves the church’s ministry with children and young people in churches, schools, colleges and universities. The Church of England provides 4,700 schools educating over a million children. My role in education has developed throughout 28 years of ordained ministry working in a variety of roles, including: vicar, school chaplain, governor of a university, chair of governors in primary and secondary school, Director of Education, Head of School Policy for the Church of England and I have been Chief Education Officer since 2014.
Having begun as a researcher in Theology and Religious Studies, I trained as a secondary teacher of Religious Education and Philosophy and taught in a large secondary school in North London. For the past eight years, I have worked as the Diocesan RE Adviser for the Lincoln Diocesan Board of Education, supporting infant, junior, primary, secondary and special church and community schools across the region to deliver effective RE. I have published in various RE-related books, magazines and blogs, and have a particular interest in RE curriculum design and the different types of knowledge developed through the RE curriculum. I sit as a representative of Archbishops’ Council on the RE Council of England and Wales and I am part of the RE working group for the Church of England Education Office. I have been involved in a number of projects locally and nationally that seek to address the public perception of religious and non-religious worldviews, and I have worked as a mentor for the Culham Leadership Programme. I am a school governor and a Trustee of an alternative educational setting, and I feel hugely privileged to also be a Trustee of Culham St Gabriel’s.
Canon Dr Ann Holt OBE
I have been involved in various ways with Education throughout my professional life. Most recently I was the Diocesan Director of Education for the Diocese of Chichester as well as being a trustee of three Multi Academy Trusts. I continue to be a Trustee of Oasis Community Learning as well as being vice-chair of the Diocese of Bristol Academy Trust. I spent 11 years working as Director of Programmes for the Bible Society and headed up the first national training organisation for the training of school and college governors. In 2004 I was awarded an OBE for services to Education.
Deborah Weston OBE
I am an experienced teacher and trainer who worked in a large inner-city comprehensive school as Director of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development. In addition to my school role, I advise four local authorities on a regular basis; supporting their SACREs (Standing Advisory Council on RE), classroom practitioners as well as middle and senior leaders. I am a member of the national executive of NATRE (the National Association of Teachers of RE), the Company Secretary of the RE Council of England and Wales (REC) and the Chair of the RE Policy Unit for NATRE, the REC and RE Today. I was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to religious education, inter and intra-faith dialogue. I have been a trustee since 2012.
Dr Linda Whitworth
After 14 years teaching RE to secondary and primary pupils, I lectured in Religious Education at Middlesex University for 25 years, preparing students for primary and secondary teaching. My personal and research interests are the professional development of primary teachers to teach RE and the role of RE in inclusive practice in schools. In addition to being a Trustee for the Culham St. Gabriel Trust, I am an Executive Committee Member of the Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education (AULRE) and a longstanding member of NATRE. I chair the Culham St Gabriel’s Grants and Education Committee.
Since 2019, I have been the Director of Education for The Diocese of Oxford overseeing 281 schools across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. I have extensive headship experience including providing intervention for schools in challenging circumstances as well as leading a school designated as outstanding. I have also led two different schools towards good. During a four-year period, I gained international school improvement and system leadership experience from my role as Principal Education Consultant in The Kingdom of Bahrain. During this time, I had demonstrable impact in the country’s standing in relation to the PISA and PRL tests.
Outside of my formal roles, I have extensive experience as a trainer and published author of school improvement manuals and was a member of a national education think-tank. In addition, my experience as an elected member of several local authorities has imbued me with a clear grasp of the machinery of government.