Professor Chris Wilkins

Photo portrait of Dr Chris Wilkins

Professor of Education

B.Ed Hons (Brighton), PhD (Leicester), PFHEA, NTF

Tel: 0116 252 5740

Room A33, 21 University Road



Personal details

B.Ed Hons (Brighton), PhD (Leicester), PFHEA, NTF

Prior to joining the University in 2000, I worked in London and then Leicester as a Primary school teacher.  Between 2002 and 2007, I was Head of the Primary PGCE programme, and served as Director of Teacher Education from 2008 to 2016, with responsibility for the strategic management of all programmes related to teacher education including the validation and quality assurance of School-Centred Initial Teacher Education programmes. I am currently serving as interim Head of the School of Education (since January 2020).

I have represented the University in a number of national and international bodies, such as the Steering Group of Comenius Network on Global Education, Racial Equality and Education Strategy Group, Diversity and Anti-Racism Project Steering Group, University’s Council for the Education of Teachers Primary Committee and Management Forum, Steering Group for TDA Recruitment and Retention of Minorities Initiative and UK education representative for the European Union Civil Society Dialogue Project.  I have also led or co-led a range of European Union-funded teacher development and research projects.

I have been widely recognised for my outstanding leadership of learning and teaching at the University of Leicester, and for my national and international contributions to teacher education.  I was elected as a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014, as a University Distinguished Teaching Fellow in 2015 and as a National Teaching Fellow in 2016.  I have also gained recognition for my research achievements, with the award of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2012.

I have acted as an external advisor and examiner for a number of universities in England and Wales, and as a reviewer for a range of peer-reviewed journals, including:

  • British Educational Research Journal
  • Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education
  • Educational Research
  • European Educational Research Journal
  • European Journal of Teacher Education
  • Globalisation, Societies and Education
  • Intercultural Education
  • Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy
  • Journal of Educational Change
  • Professional Development in Education
  • Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education
  • Race, Ethnicity and Education

Consultancy, enterprise and outreach activities

I have carried out a wide range of other activities, including commissioned research and evaluation for local authorities, teacher unions and voluntary organisations working with 'hard to reach' and vulnerable children.

My current consultancy commitments are:

  • Educational Leadership for Change Khebrat Programme, for Ministry of Education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Curriculum Development consultant, Physical Education for Girls in Saudi Arabia
  • Advisor, Professional Academy for Teachers, Egypt
  • Education Quality Advisor for Leicestershire County Council, in partnership with Affinity Teaching School Alliance;


I currently teach on the following modules for the courses listed below:

Masters in International Education (MAIE)

  • Pedagogy Pathway (pathway coordinator)
  • Contemporary Issues

PGCE Primary

  • Professional Studies Strand (covering Early Years Education, citizenship and social justice and the wider professional role of the teacher)

MSc Educational Leadership

  • Module tutor

I also supervise PhD students within my areas of special interest.


Selected recent publications


Wilkins, C., Gobby, B., & Keddie, A., 2020 The neo-performative teacher:  school reform, entrepreneurialism and the pursuit of educational equity, British Journal of Educational Studies, accepted for publication February 2020


Helgevold, N. and Wilkins, C. 2019 International Changes and Approaches in Initial Teacher Education, In Wood, P., Larssen, D., Helgevold, N. and Cajkler, W. (Ed.) Lesson Study in Initial Teacher Education: Principles and Practices, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 1-15.


Keddie, A., Gobby, B., & Wilkins, C. 2018 School autonomy reform in Queensland: governance, freedom and the entrepreneurial leader, School Leadership and Management, (43:2) pp 171-190

Wilkins, C. 2018 'Quality Assurance and Accountability in Initial Teacher Education in England', in Ellis, R. (Ed) Handbook for Quality Assurance in University Teaching, London: Routledge.


Wilkins, C. 2017 'Elite' career-changers and their experience of initial teacher education, Journal of Education for Teaching: international research and pedagogy (43:2) pp 171-190


Wilkins, C. 2016 'Vocational Education and Training in England: opportunities and challenges in a fragmented neoliberal system', in Bolder, A., Bremer, H. & Epping, R (Eds.): Education for work under new management controls (Education and work Series: #5), Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Wilkins, C., Forsythe, S. & Ahmed, H. 2016 The Professional Academy for Teachers in Egypt: Case Study of a Journey in Peer Learning and Transformations in Teacher Education, Cairo: The American University in Cairo


Wilkins, C. 2015 Education reform in England: quality and equity in the performative school, International Journal of Inclusive Education, (19:11) pp 1143-1160

Wilkins, C. & Comber, C. 2015 'Elite' career-changers in the teaching profession, British Educational Research Journal, (41:6) pp 1010-1030

Burgess, H., Lawson, T., Wilkins, C. & Forsythe, S. 2015. Building Research Partnerships through a European Union-funded TEMPUS Project, Research Intelligence, Summer 2015, London: BERA

Wilkins, C. 2015 The Impact of the Inspectorate System on Initial Teacher Education in England, in Kuhlee, D., Buer, J. van & Winch, C. (Ed.) Changing Governance in Initial Teacher Education: A comparison of England and Germany, Wiesbaden: VS Springer.


Wilkins, C. 2014 Inspecting the inspectors: race equality and quality in initial teacher education, Race, Ethnicity and Education, 17(3): 445-470

Wilkins, C. 2014. Hard Evidence: is a teacher shortage looming? The Conversation, 08/12/2014

Wilkins, C. 2014. Teachers on the naughty step over pupil bad behaviourThe Conversation, 02/10/2014

View a full list of publications.


My research covers four broad areas:

  • The changing nature of teacher professionalism, and the processes involved in the formation of teacher identity particularly the relationship between teachers' professional values and the management and regulation of teachers' work
  • Comparative study and global perspectives on policy and practice in teacher education and professional development
  • The social context of schooling and social justice in education particularly 'race', gender and social class
  • Citizenship education with a particular focus on UK and European notions of ‘citizen identity’

Research projects

  • School-University Partnerships for Professional Communities of Learners (SUP4PCL) (European Union Erasmus+ funded) commenced January 2017
  • Capacity Development of Faculties of Education in International Approaches to Teacher Education (European Union (TEMPUS) funded) 2013-2016
  • Elite career changers entering the teaching profession, Leverhulme Trust funded 2012
  • Crossing borders in performative times: new teachers, the performance of liminality and the co-construction of professional identity in schools, University of Leicester funded 2011-2012
  • Inspecting the inspectors: race equality and quality in initial teacher education, University of Leicester funded 2012
  • Evaluation of impact of Pyramid Trust after school clubs for pupils with low self-esteem University of Leicester funded 2011
  • European citizenship and EU expansion: Perspectives on Europeanness and Citizenship Education from Britain and Turkey, Civil Society Dialogue Project: European Union and Turkish Government funded (2009-2010)
  • The professional identity of early career teachers and the impact of marketisation and performativity in education, British Academy funded (2008-2009)


Topics available for doctoral supervision include:

  • Teacher professional identity
  • Professional Development
  • Educational policy
  • Initial teacher education
  • Citizenship education
  • Social justice

Current and completed doctoral students


Amira Abdou School-based teacher professional development and learning in Egypt

Sameer Al Dehailan An investigation into the implementation of the citizenship component of the Tatweer policy in Saudi Arabia

Djihad Drari Higher Education aspirations and choice: the case of young Bangladeshi individuals in the UK

Nevine El Souefi Realization of Effective Reflective Practices in Teacher Professional Development in International Schools in Egypt

Chaltone Munene An Exploration of how Zambian University Heads of Department Consolidate their Leadership Roles

Kehinde Nwani Teacher Effectiveness and it's Role in Optimising Student Learning in Primary Schools in Lagos State, Nigeria

Shining Wei Professional Identity Development of EFT Teachers in a Transcultural Higher Education Context


Sadia Alghamdi Leading professional learning communities in Tatweer secondary schools in Saudi Arabia: a case study

Peson Chobphon Factors influencing academic achievement of stateless migrant students in Tak Province, Thailand

Ashley Compton The interplay between creativity and assessment in a programme of Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

Zoe Harwood The training implications to support the inclusion of pre-school children with special educational needs

Kyffin Jones Stories of enculturation and inclusion: a narrative study of the outsider’s journey

Konstantina Kontopoulou Pre-service teachers' informal use of social media for academic learning

Heather McClue ITT provision for race equality and social justice in the preparation of socially responsible teachers

Mthulisi Matshakaile The Influence of Culture on Educational Leadership in Zambia: A case study of the Phiri School

Carmen Mohamed Influence of cultural assumptions of student teachers on the developing academic and social identification of primary school pupils

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