Professor Richard Dunnill

Director of Education

School of Education

Professor Richard Dunnill

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


Richard is Co-Director of Education and Professor in the School of Education. He is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership and oversight of the School’s programmes of study at all levels (undergraduate, taught postgraduate, and research postgraduate).

Teacher Education Partnerships are also a key focus. With the rapidly changing government policy and funding landscapes Richard has worked with colleagues to liaise closely with government and other key stakeholders.  He has also helped the School become involved with Initial Teacher Education initiatives such as Teaching Schools and School Direct.

Richard has also been involved in the development of the successful application to government proposal for the UK's first  University Training School working closely with the Head of School and as part of a team of colleagues from School, College and University. Work is now proceeding for the school to open in September 2015.

CPD linked to School Improvement is a further priority, in particular developing our partnerships with schools so that programmes to support staff and whole school improvement can be developed with partner schools and aimed at addressing their specific development priorities. 


  • MA Economics Education (University of London) 1986
  • PGCE (University of Birmingham) 1975 
  • BA (Hons) Political Economy (CNAA) 1974


Richard joined the University in 2011 from Staffordshire University where, most recently, he was Director of Partnerships and Education leading Education and also working with Universities, colleges, private sector organisations and charities across Eastern and Western Europe, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam and China.

Previously, Richard was the first Head of Education at the University, leading the growth of a specialist cross-University team responsible for teacher education programmes with schools and colleges, wider workforce awards, CPD Masters awards, consultancies with public and private sector organisations and with charities in the UK and overseas including work in Ethiopia.

He led Education to achieve the highest possible OFSTED Inspection outcome of Grade 1, “Outstanding”, in three successive inspections as well as to achieving excellent QAA outcomes and endorsements from TDA, LLUK and FDF.
Previously, Richard had worked at Canterbury Christ Church University, where he was the Director of the Centre for Education Leadership and School Improvement having previously held responsibilities for e-Learning, Quality, aspects of Teach First, PGCE and Masters programmes in school improvement.

Before Canterbury, Richard worked at the Institute of Education at the University of London and at the University of Manchester where he helped secure “Outstanding” OFSTED Inspection outcomes and worked with schools and local authorities across the country and in eastern Europe.

Prior to working in Universities, Richard taught for ten years in London comprehensive schools where he held middle and senior leadership posts.


Richard has taught on:

BA (Hons) Education:
Placement module

MA School Improvement and Education Leadership
Understanding School Improvement module
Using evidence in School Improvement module
Special Study module

Postgraduate supervision

Richard has supervised Masters dissertations and EdD theses in Education and acts as internal and external examiner (for other Universities) for Doctoral Theses where his expertise is appropriate. 


Richard’s research interests currently centre on Learning, e-Learning approaches, Education Leadership and Improvement and the potential of Phenomenography in informing such work. Recent projects have included: 

2012 Learning Study and The leading role of outstanding teachers in ITT  Leading a funded project with 24 teachers (Modern Linguists; Scientists; Mathematicians) using Learning Study as a means of bringing Outstanding teachers, mentors and trainee teachers together to collaboratively plan, teach and review lessons on the evidence of student learning.

2008-11 Leading Learning with Hard to Reach Learners  Leading a funded project with a private sector organisation researching and developing approaches to help teachers work with hard to reach learners. 

2008-09 e-Portfolios in Initial teacher Education(ITT)  Leading a TDA funded project involving partnerships with West Midlands Consortium and a private sector organisation to design, develop, pilot and evaluate an e-portfolio for PGCE 

2007-08 Using Portable Interactive Whiteboards and Digital Video in Initial teacher Education(ITT)  Leading and managing a TDA funded project using interactive and video learning technologies with ITT students

2006-08 Teaching Observation and Practice: Sharpening the Subject Edge  Leading and Managing a DFES Standards Fund project developing subject mentoring for ITT students in post-compulsory settings 

2006-07 Tablet PCs for Mentors: Supporting Mentors’ Work with Initial teacher Education(ITT)Trainees  Leading and managing a TDA funded project using Tablet PCs with subject mentors to enhance their work with school ITT students. 

2005-06 Connecting Mentors and Tutors  Leading and managing a TDA funded project using smartphones with tutors and mentors to support their work with school ITT students. 

2004-05 Learning for Regenerationm  A HEIF Project involving medium sized private businesses and not for profit community organisations in using learning technologies to improve the quality of learning among employees/organisation members/volunteers

Other activities

Most Recent Memberships: 

  • Trustee of the Shropshire Children’s University since 2011 
  • Member of the Interim Executive Board of Queen Elizabeth’s Mercian School, Tamworth 2010-11

Most Recent Conferences, Keynotes and Presentations

(2012) Systematic and Collaborative Opportunities for Improved Teaching Focused on Planning, Teaching and Reviewing Lessons, keynote presentation to British Council and Ministry Of Culture and Education Conference on School-College Partnerships: Realities and Expectations at Al Qasemi Academic College of Education, Israel

(2012) Perspectives on Education: Making the Change, presentation with colleagues at Haifa University International Seminar on Teacher Education, Gardenia Hotel, Nazareth, Israel.

(2012) Helping ensure all young people have the opportunity to participate in society through education,  presentation at City of Birmingham Business Breakfast Meeting, Burlington Hotel, Birmingham

External Examining/Panel Membership 

Richard has been an External Examiner/Panel Member for numerous Universities including the University of Exeter, the University of Manchester, Queen’s University, Belfast, the Institute of Education University of London, Brunel University and the University of Sussex


Richard has held funded consultancies and enterprise contracts with numerous organisations, most recently with:

  • NISAI Learning helping the organisation to develop new and experienced teachers’ capabilities to work effectively online and offline with Hard to Reach Learners 
  • National Prison Service College helping to develop self-evaluation and leadership programmes with Training Coordinators 
  • Dovegate Prison, leading a review of Education provision 
  • Cheshire Local Authority evaluating its Enterprise Education in Schools initiative

Richard has also consulted for: 

  • Voluntary sector training organisations in a regeneration project in the South East of England 
  • Northamptonshire Police Service on the reorganisation of their training department 
  • Care Sector businesses in Kent on improving the quality of staff training and development

Internationally, Richard has worked on:

  • Economics and Business Education and on school improvement in Slovakia 
  • A development project in Germany focusing on vocational training 
  • School improvement project in Sicily 
  • Reviewing international teacher education programmes in China

In 2010-11, he has led a multi-disciplinary team working with Tearfund, an international charity to develop an MSc programme. This is now running in Ethiopia, supporting the work and developing the learning of local people working in development projects with the poorest of the poor in several African countries to transform themselves, their communities and workplaces

Richard is also a reviewer for:

Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning

International Review of Economics Education (IREE)

Bloomsbury Publishing


Selected Publications

Dunnill, R. (2013) Detailed review of “Education - an Anatomy of the Discipline: Rescuing the University Project?” in the Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning (forthcoming)

Dunnill, R. (2012) Detailed review of “The Teacher’s Reflective Practice Handbook: becoming an extended professional through capturing evidence informed practice" in Teaching Business and Economics,   16:3 pp32-34

Dunnill, R. (2011) Just Living in Teaching Business and Economics, 15:3 pp16-18

Dunnill, R. (2011) Teacher Education and Training: ''Interesting'' Times, in The HR and Training Journal,

Dunnill, R and Davies, P. (2008) ‘Learning Study’ as a model of collaborative practice in initial teacher education in Journal of Education for Teaching 34:1 pp3-16 

Dunnill, R., Armitage, A., Bryant, R., Hayes, D., Hudson, A., Kent, J, Lawes, S and Renwick, A, (2007) Teaching and Training in Post-Compulsory Education third edition Buckingham, Open University Press

Dunnill, R. and with Davies, P. (2006) Improving learning by focusing on variation in Teaching Business and Economics 9:2

Dunnill, R. and Davies, P. (2006) Disciplines, outcomes and purpose in social science education in Journal of Social Science Education 7:1

Dunnill, R., Durrant, J. and Clements, S. (2004) Helping schools to know themselves: Exploring partnerships between schools and Higher Education Institutions to generate trustful, critical dialogue for review and development in Improving Schools 7: pp151-170

with Price, G (1996) Partnership in Initial Teacher Education Manchester, Manchester Monographs 160pp

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