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Worcester Lecturer Receives Prestigious National Teaching Fellowship

An academic at the University of Worcester has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy, it has been announced today.

This is the top award for those teaching at universities across the UK – with just 54 awarded across the entire country.

Dr Richard Woolley, Deputy Head of the School of Education, said: “I am delighted to have received this award. I have been committed to developing high quality learning and teaching throughout my career, working in primary schools and in further and higher education. Working at the University of Worcester has enabled me to develop my commitment to inclusive education and to work with both colleagues and students to deepen our understanding of what this means.”

The focus of Dr Woolley’s teaching, scholarship and research is diversity and equality, inclusion and social justice in education. He is a passionate believer in the role of education in helping individuals to realise their potential, to access opportunities for learning and to foster a sense of self-confidence and self-worth.

Dr Woolley has been engaged in addressing these issues for 30 years, exploring the relationship between values education and contemporary social issues.

He began his teaching career in primary schools in North Yorkshire, before moving to work in further and higher education at Cliff College in Derbyshire. After returning to primary education in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire he worked in initial teacher education at what is now Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln, before joining the University of Worcester in 2011 as Head of Centre for Education and Inclusion.

"I would like to thank the University for nominating me for this award, and supporting me through the process,” he said. “Throughout my career I have been privileged to work with some wonderful colleagues from whom I have learned a great deal. They have helped me to develop my own learning, and having the opportunity to collaborate with others has allowed me to test out ideas, explore new resources and reflect on my practice.”

Dr Woolley has developed several books in the area of education and inclusion, including Tackling Controversial Issues in the Primary School, the Spiritual Dimension of Childhood, and Understanding Inclusion: core concepts, policy and practice. He developed the Family Diversities Reading Resource to help schools to value the diverse range of children’s families and home backgrounds.

Dr Woolley attended Ossett School in West Yorkshire, before undertaking both his undergraduate degree and teacher training at the College of Ripon and York St John. He undertook a Masters’ degree at the University of Leeds and his doctorate was awarded by the University of Sheffield, having studied jointly with the Urban Theology Unit.

The National Teaching Fellowship (NTFs) scheme recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student learning and the teaching profession. The successful recipients were chosen from nominations submitted by higher education institutions across the UK.

Professor David Green, the University’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted and proud of Dr Richard Woolley’s success. The award of a National Teaching Fellowship is a huge professional accolade. It is testament to Richard’s passion and commitment combined with his inspiring practice. The University is deeply committed to inclusive education and we are delighted that Richard has joined the considerable group of Worcester colleagues to have been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship – an award which is widely perceived to be the Oscar of Higher Education.”