Professor of the History of Religion and Education
Institute of Education
tel: 01905 542165
Stephen joined the Institute of Education at Worcester in 2008 as Head of Postgraduate Studies, becoming Professor of the History of Religion and Education in 2013. At Worcester he has been course leader for the MA Education and university lead for professional doctorate awards.
Since publishing his PhD thesis as Faith on the Home Front in 2005, Stephen has developed research interests in the role of religions in society. He has particular expertise in the interface between the histories of religion, education and childhood across the twentieth century.
Awarded a prestigious Research Project Grant by the Leverhulme Trust in 2013, for a project entitled Faith on the Air: religious educational broadcasting history, c.1920-, Stephen is leading detailed research on this for a period of three years (2014-16).
Stephen is a leading contributor to developing international perspectives on the history of religious education in the post-war period.
Stephen’s work at the University of Worcester utilises this research in various ways: directly, in teaching across courses on issues in religion and education, but also in developing critical and historical perspectives upon education policy and practice. He is keen that the histories of religion and education should be studied in their own right, but is committed to demonstrating how historical perspectives may inform the present.
Since 2008 Stephen has been engaged in a number of funded research projects as Co-principal Investigator:
• The professionalization of Religious Education since 1944 (funded by the Westhill Endowment)
• The Hidden History of Curriculum Change in Religious Education in English schools, 1969-1979 (funded by the British Academy)
• The Hidden History of Religious Education: The Life-Histories of R.E. Professionals in the Midlands from the long 1960s to the 1980s (funded by the Westhill Endowment).
• The impact of A-level Religious Studies on the values and outlook of 16-19 year olds (funded by the St. Gabriel’s and the St Peter’s Saltley Trusts in)
Since 2009, Stephen has also been an Associate Fellow of the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit.
He is also an affiliated member of the University of Exeter’s Religion, Spirituality and Education Network.
PGCert (Teaching and Learning in Higher Education) (Liverpool)
B.Ed (Hons) Religious and Theological Studies and Education (Birmingham)
Stephen's blog can be found at http://religiohistored.wordpress.com/
Stephen regularly tweets @religiohistored
- Teaching & Supervision
Teaching & Supervision
Stephen is currently Research Degrees Coordinator for the Institute of Education.
Dr Jody Crutchley
Dr Sian Roberts
Professor Parker is currently supervising the following doctoral researchers:
• Branwen Bingle - Children’s literature and the idea of the teacher (part-time)
• Danielle Evans - The contribution of religious education to community relations (part-time)
• Elizabeth Newton - A teachers’ history of Religious Education in Birmingham, 1960s-1980s (full-time)
• Rachael Shillitoe - Broadcast collective worship for children (full-time,Leverhulme Trust-funded)
• Marie Stephenson - Ethical leadership in the not-for-profit sector (part-time)
Professor Parker would be pleased to receive enquiries about supervision on any aspect of the religious history of education; religion, education and society; faith schooling and educational policy in relation to religion and culture; religious history (particularly of the twentieth century); and the application of historical methodologies to contemporary issues in education and religion.
- Professional Bodies
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS)
Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts (FRSA)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
Member of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values
Member of Association of University Lecturers in Religious Education
Member of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain
Member of Ecclesiastical History Society.
Member of the Church of England Record Society.
Books and edited volumes:
Strhan, A., Parker, S.G. and Ridgely, S. (exptd 2017) The Bloomsbury Reader in Childhood and Religion London: Bloomsbury Press.
Parker, S.G., Freathy, R.J.K., and Aldridge, D. (eds) (2015), The Future of Religious Education in England. Journal of Beliefs and Values, 36:1
Parker, S.G., Freathy, R.J.K., Francis, L.J. (2015) History, Remembrance and Religious Education. Oxford: Peter Lang.
Parker, S.G., Lawson, T. (2012) God and War: the Church of England and Armed Conflict in the Twentieth-century. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Parker, S.G., Freathy R.J.K., Francis, L.J. (2012). Religious Education and Freedom of Religion and Belief. Oxford: Peter Lang.
Campbell, W.S., Parker, S.G. (2011). Faith in Education. Journal of Beliefs and Values, 32: 2.
Parker, S.G. (2005). Faith on the Home Front: Aspects of Church Life and Popular Religion in Birmingham, 1939 – 1945. Oxford: Peter Lang.
Freathy, R.J.K., Parker, S., Doney, J (2015) Raiders of the Lost Archive: methodological reflections on the hidden history of Religious Education in England. In Parker, S.G. Freathy, R.J.K., Francis, L.J. History, Remembrance and Religious Education. Oxford: Peter Lang.
Freathy, R.J.K and Parker, S. (2015) Introduction. In Parker, S.G. Freathy, R.J.K., Francis, L.J. History, Remembrance and Religious Education. Oxford: Peter Lang.
Freathy, R.J.K., Parker, S.G. (2012) Freedom from Religious Beliefs: Humanists and Religious Education in England in the 1960s and 70s. In Parker, S.G. and Freathy R.J.K. (eds) Religious Education and Freedom of Religion and Belief. Bern: Peter Lang.
Parker, S., Freathy, R., Francis, L.J. (2012). Introduction in Parker S, Freathy R.,Francis L.J. (eds.) Religious Education and Freedom of Religion and Belief, Oxford: Peter Lang, 1-3.
Lawson, T., Parker, S.G. (2012) God and War: a century in the politics of religion. In Parker, S.G. and Lawson, T. (eds). God and War: the Church of England and Armed Conflict in the Twentieth-century. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Parker, S.G. (2012) Reinvigorating Christian Britain: the spiritual opportunities of the war, national identity, and the hope of Religious Education. In Parker, S.G. and Lawson, T. (eds) God and War: the Church of England and Armed Conflict in the Twentieth-century. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Snape, M. F., Parker, S.G. (2001) Keeping Faith and Coping: belief, popular religiosity and the British people. In Liddle, P., Bourne, J. and Whitehead, I. (eds.) (2001) The Great World War (Volume 2): the people’s experience. London: Harper Collins.
Freathy R, Parker SG, Schweitzer F, Simojoki H (2016). Conceptualizing and Researching the Professionalization of Religious Education Teachers: Historical and International Perspectives. British Journal of Religious Education, 38(2), 114-129.
Freathy R, Parker SG, Schweitzer F, Simojoki H (2016). Professionalism, Professionalization and Professionality in Religious Education. British Journal of Religious Education, 38(2), 111-113.
Parker, S.G., Freathy, R. and Aldridge, D. (2015) The future of Religious Education: crisis, reform and iconoclasm, Journal of Beliefs and Values, 36:1, pp.1-4.
Freathy, R.J.K., Parker. S.G. (2015) Prospects and problems for religious education in England, 1967-1970: curriculum reform in political context, Journal of Beliefs and Values, 36:1, pp.5-30.
Parker, S.G. (2015) Mediatizing childhood religion: the BBC, John G. Williams, and collective worship for schools in England, c.1940-1975, Paedagogica Historica: international journal of the history of education
Freathy, R.J.K, Parker, S.G., Schweitzer, F., and Simojoki. H. (2014) Towards international comparative research on the professionalisation of Religious
Education, Journal of Beliefs & Values: Studies in Religion & Education, 35:2, 225-241.
Freathy, R.J.K., Parker, S.G. (2013) Secularists, Humanists and religious education: religious crisis and curriculum change, 1963-1975, History of Education: journal of the History of Education Society, 42: 2, 222—256.
Parker, S.G., Freathy, R.J.K. (2012) Ethnic diversity, Christian hegemony and the emergence of multi-faith religious education in the 1970s, History of Education: journal of the History of Education Society, 41: 3, 381–404.
Parker, S.G., Freathy, R.J.K. (2011) Context, Complexity and Contestation: Birmingham’s Agreed Syllabuses since the 1960s, Journal of Beliefs and Values: Studies in Religion and Education, 32: 2, 247 – 263.
Freathy, R.J.K., Parker, S.G. (2010) The necessity of historical inquiry in educational research: the case of religious education, British Journal of Religious Education, 32: 3, 229 – 243.
Parker, S. G. (2010) 'Teach them to pray Auntie’: Children's Hour Prayers at the BBC, 1940-1961, History of Education: journal of the History of Education Society, Vol. 39: 5, 659-676.
Parker, S.G. (2009b) Theorizing sacred space in educational contexts: a case study of three English Midlands Sixth Form Colleges, Journal of Beliefs and Values, 30:1, 29-39.
Parker, S.G. (2009a) ‘Blessed are the pacifists’: E.W. Barnes of Birmingham and Pacifism, 1914-1945, Midland History, Vol. 34: 2, 204–219.
Recently Published Book Reviews:
Worsley, H. (ed) (2013) Anglican Church School Education: moving beyond the first two hundred years. London: Bloomsbury. British Journal of Religious Education, published online January 2014, DOI:10.1080/01416200.2013.872877
Beaken, R. (2012). Cosmo Lang: Archbishop in War and Crisis. London: IB Tauris., May 2013.
Revell, L. (2012) Islam and Education: the manipulation and misrepresentation of a religion Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books, Journal of Beliefs and Values, 34, 1, 2013, pp.125-127.
Green, S.J.D (2011). The Passing of Protestant England: secularisation and social change, c. 1920-1960. Cambridge: CUP in the Journal of British Studies, vol. 51, 3, 2012, pp.769-770.
King, Ursula (2009) The Search for Spirituality: our global quest for meaning and fulfilment, Norwich: Canterbury Press, published February, 2010.
Shapiro, Joan Poliner and Gross, Steven Jay (2007) Ethical Educational Leadership in Turbulent Times (Re-solving Moral Dilemmas). London: Routledge, published April 2010.
Stephen Parker, ‘Wakefield, Henry Russell (1854-1933)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press
Stephen Parker, ‘Woods, Edward Sydney (1877-1953)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press
Life After Death and Personhood, Dialogue: A Journal of Religion and Philosophy, Issue 29: November 2007
First Thoughts on Spirituality in the Sixth Form College, Farmington Fellowship Report, 2008.
Association of University Lecturers in Religious Education, St. Mary’s University, Understanding the professionalization of Religious Education: towards an international comparative perspective, London, September 2015.
History of Education Society, UK, ‘Towards international comparative research on the professionalization of Religious Education’, Dublin, November 2014.
International Society for Media, Religion and Culture, Faith on the Air: a religious educational broadcasting history, c.1922-, Canterbury, August 2014.
International Standing Conference on the History of Education, Education, War and Peace: Transatlantic Perspectives on Religious Education for Citizenship during the Second World War; Gender, transnational exchanges, and Christian youth leadership: the entangled history of Westhill Training College, Birmingham 1907-39; Mary Whitehouse, the Cold War and Religious Education, Institute of Education, July 2014.
History of Education Society, UK: Going Un-Christian’? Religious Education, the Church of England, and Church-State Relations, 1965-1970 and George Hamilton Archibald, Gender, and the Professionalization of Sunday-school teaching and Testimonies, Teaching and Testaments: Using Oral Life History to Enrich the Historiography of English Religious Education, University of Exeter, November 2013.
International Association for Media History, John G. Williams, school worship and the idea of childhood piety at the BBC, University of Leicester, July 2013.
History of Education Society, UK The Aussie and the Schoolmistress: reforming RE and contesting English religious identity in the long 1960s and Religious Education and the Mary Whitehouse Experience. November 2012.
International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, The Christian Education Movement, 1964-1980 and Religious Education and the Mary Whitehouse Experience, Turku Finland, July 2012.
What can RE learn from broadcasting history? Paper given at the annual symposium on Practical Theology and Religious Education at St. Mary’s Centre, Noddfa, November 2011
‘Love Thy Neighbour’?: religious education and the politics of diversity, Education and Social Research, University of Worcester Research Conference, May 2011.
History of Education Society, UK, Religion, Citizenship and Education, ‘Love Thy Neighbour’? Race, Religious Education and the Politics of Diversity, 1969-75: an historical case study and Problems & Prospects for Religious Education in England, 1967-1970: A Short Act? November 2010.
International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, Freedom from religious beliefs: A case-study from the history of English Religious Education, Ottawa, July 2010
First University of Worcester International Research Conference, Religious Education in Comparative Historical Perspective: the case of England and Germany in the long 1960s, May 2010.
Secularization in the Christian World, a colloquium to mark the retirement of Professor Hugh McLeod, Teach Them to Pray Auntie: Children’s Hour Prayers at the BBC, 1940-1961: a case study in secularization?, Birmingham Apr 2010.
History of Education Society, UK Teach Them to Pray Auntie: Children’s Hour Prayers at the BBC, 1940-1961, informal religious education in broadcast liminal space and Putting Religious Education in its Place: a case-study of the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Instruction (1975), London, Dec 2009
European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI), The Birmingham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Instruction (1975): Paradigmatic Change, Academic and Public Discourse and Professional Lives, Amsterdam, Aug 2009
International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE), The Birmingham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Instruction (1975): Learning ‘to live and work together in a pluralist situation’, Utrecht, Aug 2009
Association of University Lecturers in Religious Education, The Necessity of Historical Inquiry in Education Research: the case of Religious Education, Exeter, July 2009
Theorising ‘sacred space’ in educational contexts: tracing the development and use of new prayer/quiet rooms in Sixth Form Colleges. Landscape and Heritage, University of Worcester Research Conference, Nov 2008
British Educational Research Association (BERA), A Paradigm Shift in Religious Education? The Birmingham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Instruction of 1975 in historical and contemporary perspective, Sept 2008.
- External Responsibilities
External Engagement and Responsibilities
Stephen is Assistant Editor and Reviews Editor of the Journal of Beliefs and Values
Stephen is Honorary Secretary of the History of Education Society, UK.
Stephen is a Member of the Peer Review College of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Convenor of the History of Religion and Education special interest group
Co-organiser of 'Teacher Professionalization and the Professional Quality of Religious Education: An International Symposium', University of Exeter, UK, March 2015.
Organiser of the ‘Future of RE: prospects and problems for religious education (revisited)’, June 2013.
Stephen is a member of the Advisory Group for RE Today
Editorial Board Membership and Peer Review
Member of the Editorial Board of Practical Theology
Lead Series Editor: Religion, Education and Values, Peter Lang AG.
Volumes published thus far:
Vol. 1 Teaching Religion, Teaching Truth: theoretical and empirical perspectives
Vol. 2 Religious Education and Freedom of Religion and Belief
Vol. 3 Fragmented Catholicity and Social Cohesion: faith schools in a plural society
Vol. 4 Swimming Against the Tide: the new independent Christian schools and their teenage pupils
Vol. 5 Women, Cosmopolitanism and Islamic Education: on the virtues of engagement and belonging
Vol. 6 Loneliness and Solitude in Education: how to value individuality and create the enstatic school
Vol. 7 History, Remembrance and Religious Education
Peer Reviewer for:
British Journal of Educational Studies
The Historical Journal
History of Education
History of Education Researcher
Journal of Beliefs and Values
Journal for the Study of Spirituality
Paedagogica Historica: international journal of the history of education
Invited keynote addresses, lectures and papers given in national and international forums:
What is religious education, and should it be taught in schools? Public lecture at the Hive, University of Worcester, February 2014.
Faith on the Home Front: national identity, the spiritual issues of the war and religious education. Contemporary Issues in the Worldwide Anglican Communion: a research symposium, University of Kent, September 2013.
‘Taking an historical perspective’, Canterbury Christchurch University. Invited lecture. July 2013.
John G. Williams, school worship and the idea of childhood piety at the BBC, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, June 2013.
Convener and presenter at a symposium entitled God and War: the Church of England and the wars of the twentieth-century, April 2011, University of Winchester.
Ethical Leaders Born or Made? Exploring Notions of Virtuous Leadership, launch conference of the University of Worcester’s Centre for Ethical Leadership, November 2010. http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/1072/2/Ethical_leadership2.pdf
Freedom from religious beliefs: A case-study from the history of English Religious Education, History of Religions’ Seminar, University of Birmingham, June 2010 (with R.J.K. Freathy)
Bishop E.W. Barnes of Birmingham, 1923-1953, the Eric Hopkins’ Memorial Lecture, May 2010, University of Birmingham and the Historical Association
‘Keep Praying Through’: religion on the Home Front in Birmingham in World War Two, Centre for Birmingham and Midlands History, March 2010, University of Birmingham.
Religious Education in Historical Perspective, a symposium at the University of Tuebingen, 18-19 December, 2009 (with R.J.K. Freathy).
Educating the Citizen in World War Two: views from the Home Front, March 2009, Oxford Brookes University
The hidden history of Religious Education, 1969-1979, April 2009, University of Exeter School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Pastor, Pacifist and Eugenicist: Bishop Barnes of Birmingham, the Open University West Midlands Regional Arts Group, May 2008.
Blitz Religion? The case of Birmingham 1940-1941, Institute for Historical Research Seminar, University of London, November 2003
In Word and Deed: pastoral care in wartime Birmingham, University of Birmingham History of Religions Seminar, January 2001