Meet the team

Core Team

Picture of Professor Bob Bowie

Professor Bob Bowie


Professor Bob Bowie began his 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 he began writing textbooks and wrote a first and the bestselling second edition of Ethical Studies ( which included both explanatory writing and long extracts of key texts.

He also worked on a range RE websites for the BBC, the Guardian and for many years, REOnline. Moving to university work, he led the secondary teacher education courses for secondary RE, and completed a doctorate in Dignity and Human Rights Education ( where he argued that, contrary to some contemporary views, human rights education is compatible with faith. In the RE World become Chair of AULRE (, an association for tutors and lecturers in RE.

He then moved into primary research leading and supporting a number of major national research projects and he now leads NICER (, an educational research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. He teaches ethics and supervises doctorates in various aspects of Christian education and Church schooling.

He likes walking, growing vegetables and also finds meaning through a Christian worldview. He draws on the spiritual exercises the Jesuits taught him at school, returns whenever he can to the Taizé ecumenical and international community in France and is a practicing Christian.

View profile at Canterbury Christ Church University

Picture of Emeritus Professor Trevor Cooling

Emeritus Professor Trevor Cooling

Emeritus Fellow of Nicer

Emeritus Professor Trevor Cooling is Emeritus Fellow of Nicer.

Picture of Dr. Ann Casson

Dr. Ann Casson

Senior Research Fellow

Ann Casson is a senior research fellow at the National Institute for Christian Education Research (NICER) at Canterbury Christ Church University. Prior to becoming a full-time researcher, she taught Religious Education in secondary schools in the North East of England. Her present research project is Faith in the Nexus - investigating how schools and churches contribute to the spiritual development of young people.

Gill Harrison

Centre Administrator

Picture of Ann Pittaway

Ann Pittaway

Research and Development Leader


Ann has twenty years experience of RE teaching in the secondary school sector. As well as successfully leading RE departments, Ann was also an Assistant Headteacher responsible for teaching and learning. She joined the NICER team in May 2020 as the Research and Development Leader and has particular interests in Leadership in a Christian school context; Spiritual and faith development of young people and Cross-curricular Christ-centred teaching and learning.

Picture of Professor Lynn Revell

Professor Lynn Revell

Professorial Research Associate

Lynn Revell is a Professor of Religion and Education and Canterbury Christ Church University. She set up the special interest group on Religion and Values for British Education Research Association and is currently co convenor for the International Research Network on Extremism and Education for the World Educational Research Association. She is currently engaged in research looking at extremism and radicalisation in education as well issues to do with faith, race and freedom of expression.

Picture of Dr. John Paul Riordan

Dr. John Paul Riordan

Senior Research Associate

I am a senior lecturer in education at Canterbury Christ Church University in the UK. My research interests include video-based pedagogy analysis, conceptual change pedagogy and inclusion.

With NICER I am involved in project 1 of the beginning teacher in the science/religion encounter research project. This entails detailed video-based analysis of science and religious education lessons. How do teachers perceive and engage their students with knowledge about how science and religion can relate to one another, in the context of science lessons and RE lessons?

Picture of Dr. Mary Woolley

Dr. Mary Woolley

Senior Research Associate

MA Cantab. MPhil Cantab. MSc PGCE PhD FHA SFHEA

Mary taught history in Catholic schools in Birmingham and London before moving to the university sector to work in teacher education. She worked for ten years on PGCE, School Direct and Teach First programmes, working in partnership with school mentors to develop history teachers across Kent, Medway and London. Until recently Mary was Programme Director of the Education Studies BA at Canterbury Christ Church University, reconstructing a programme to explore global challenges in education from cradle to grave. Mary’s doctoral research explored changes in history teaching across a 25-year period through an oral history of experienced history teachers. Mary is particularly interested in curriculum, teacher agency and teacher discourse. She is currently co-PI on a large-scale project, funded by Templeton, exploring beginning teachers’ understandings of science/ religion encounters. She has also worked on NICER’s Faith in the Nexus report, exploring the role of parachurch organisations. Mary has several PhD students exploring topics as diverse as veterans, tutoring and Catholic education.

Visiting Scholars

Picture of Dr. Rosanne Aantjes

Dr. Rosanne Aantjes

Research Fellow

Rosanne is a research fellow at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her research interest lies in the field of religion and education, with specific attention to religious minorities and educational policies. In 2016 she completed a master’s degree in psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where she specialised in child and youth psychology. In 2019 Rosanne won a PhD scholarship competition at Canterbury Christ Church University. The topic of her PhD was on Turkish Muslim and reformed orthodox parents’ religious identity negotiations in their children’s education in the Netherlands, supervised by Professor Bob Bowie. Before starting to work at NICER in 2022, Rosanne worked in teaching and research at Driestar Christian University for teacher education in the Netherlands.

Picture of Dr Margaret Carswell

Dr Margaret Carswell

Senior Lecturer

Margaret is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at Australian Catholic University. Margaret is a consultant at national, Diocesan and local school level in Australia, active in exploring how schools can teach Scripture, rather than use it, in Religious Education. Her work in the UK includes the production of curriculum material to promote the teaching of Scripture using my own pedagogical framework, the Composite Model.

Picture of Dr. Sabina Hulbert

Dr. Sabina Hulbert

Senior Consulting Research Lead

Dr Sabina Hulbert is an Experimental Social Psychology, Data Analyst and Quantitative Research Methods expert. She completed and undergraduate degree in Work and Organizational Psychology in 1995 at the University of Padua (Italy) and a PhD in Experimental Social Psychology at the University of Kent in 1999.

She has been a lecturer and senior lecture at the University of Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church University covering a variety of academic and research development roles.

Since 2018 she has been a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Kent and in 2022 became the Principal Investigator for England of the Health Behaviour in School Aged Children, the world largest and international study of adolescent health sponsored by the WHO and collecting data for the past 40 years across now 51 countries -

She has collaborated in a number of funded research projects and related publications offering methodological and statistical support across a number of different disciplines which include Psychology, Health and Education.

She is a keen promoter of children’s health and well-being, social equality and positive intergroup relations.


Picture of Rev’d Ronni Lamont

Rev’d Ronni Lamont


Prior to ordination, Ronni worked as a secondary teacher of science and dance. After sixteen years in parish ministry, she now works as a consultant/facilitator/writer specialising in Children’s Spirituality. Her most recent publication is ‘Faith in Children’, published by Monarch in 2019. Working with the NICER team is a valued part of her professional life.

Picture of Nick Taunt

Nick Taunt


I found my career of 38 years in secondary comprehensive schools fascinating and exhilarating, exhausting but endlessly rewarding.

Since retiring after 18 years as Head of Bishop Luffa C of E School, Chichester in 2018, I divide my time between acting as trustee in a Church Multi-Academy Trust, an educational consultant with Canterbury Christ Church University, and as a volunteer at our local branch of Samaritans. I’m married to Ruth (formerly a Midwife & Social Care worker), and enjoy walking, playing 2nd violin in a string quartet, and enjoying our eight grandchildren.

At Canterbury Christ Church University, I’ve worked as a consultant in NICER under Bob Bowie, supporting Anne Casson on the Nexus project. This has explored how (mainly) primary-age children develop faith and the influence of the home/school/church nexus on this process. I’m particularly interested in how faith can grow as children move into the secondary environment.