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Elizabeth Newton

Doctoral Researcher & Lecturer (HPL)

Institute of Education

Contact Details




PGCert Research Methods (Distinction), University of Worcester

PGCE Religious Studies, Jesus College, University of Cambridge

BA Hons. Theology, Christ Church, University of Oxford


Teaching & Research

Teaching & Research

Teaching & Assessment


BA Education Studies
EDST 3001/2 Independent Study Supervisor (2015/16)
EDST 2122 Religion and Education: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives and Issues (2015/16 & 2013/14)
EDST 1105 Education in Context, The Independent Sector (2014/15 & 2013/14)
EDST 2022 Morality and Religion in Contemporary Education (2011/12)

Postgraduate Assessment and Tutorial Support

PgCert Religious Education, Religion and Values Education Pathway
MEDD 4071 Learning and Teaching in Religious Education (2010/11)
MEDD 4001 Research Methods (2010/11)

Course Writing & Development

BA Religion, Philosophy & Values in Education (2015/16)
PGCE Religious Education (2014/15)

Research Interests

The history of education
Teachers and teacher identity
Religion and education
Oral history 


Professional Bodies

Professional Bodies

Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education
History of Education Society, UK



Conference papers

Newton, E. M. A. (2017) A Teachers’ History of Religious Education, c.1960-1979. Presented at the Religion and Education Research Interest Group, University of Worcester.

Newton, E. M. A. (2015) ‘Who is an RE Professional?’ Being an RE teacher in 1970s Birmingham: an oral history. Presented at the Teacher Professionalization and the Professional Quality of Religious Education International Symposium, University of Exeter.

Newton, E. M. A. (2014) History and Theory. Presented at the History of Religions and Education Seminar Series, University of Worcester.

Newton, E. M. A. (2011) Religious Education in Historical Perspective. Presented at the European Educational Research Association (EERA) Histories of Education Summer School Conference, University of Birmingham.

Newton, E. M. A. (2011) Testimony and Religious Education Teachers: a historical and philosophical perspective. Presented at the University of Worcester Research Student Conference, University of Worcester.

Newton, E.M.A. (2010) Privileging the voice of the teacher in the historiography of religious education. Presented at the History of Education Society Annual Conference, London.

Research dissemination and regional engagement

Newton, E.M.A. (Sunday 20th May, 2012) A Teachers’ History of Religious Education. Interview with Dr. Carl Chinn on BBC Radio WM Local History Programme.

University of Worcester (Spring 2012) Research Student Profile, Elizabeth Newton. Inspire: Celebrating Excellence in Research, p.31.



A Teachers’ History of Religious Education in Birmingham, the long 1970s

Volunteers Wanted

Did you teach religious education (RE) in Birmingham secondary schools during the 1960s or the1970s? 

Would you be willing to share your memories of what it was like to be an RE teacher during those years?

If so, please get in touch with Elizabeth Newton who will explain more about the project and arrange to meet with you to talk about your experiences.
Address: Elizabeth Newton, Graduate Research School, University of Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester WR2 6AJ

The project

RE in Birmingham has a fascinating history. In 1975, Birmingham City Council Education Committee released its new and somewhat controversial Agreed Syllabus of Religious Instruction. This was the first syllabus of its type in the UK, the only syllabus at the time that could be said to be multi-faith for all pupils throughout their schooling. 

The syllabus was produced because it had become clear to those working in education that the religious landscape of Birmingham had changed. Immigration of the 50s and 60s had brought world religions to the City in a conspicuous way, whilst Christianity and churchgoing was in decline, with many people turning to secular ideologies to underpin their lives. In this context, Christian instruction was no longer thought to be an appropriate aim for an educational subject and therefore a new direction for RE was required. 

This new direction was a huge change for a subject that, historically, had been exclusively Christian. It was also a huge change for the teachers who had to put this new curriculum into practice in the City’s classrooms. Until now the stories of these teachers have never been heard and this project aims to correct this omission. Through listening to the voices of former teachers of RE, a collaborative oral history of RE will be produced to form A Teachers’ History of Religious Education in Birmingham, the long 1970s.

History of Religious Education Network (HOREN)

The Teachers’ History of RE in Birmingham project sits within the wider research of the History of Religious Education Network. Click on the links below to see the work and publications of the lead researchers within this network:

Professor Stephen Parker
Dr Rob Freathy

Professional Activities

Professional Activities

Peer Reviewer, History of Education Researcher

Subject Adviser, PGCE Religious Education, University of Worcester

Postgraduate Student Admissions Interviewer, PGCE Religious Education, University of Worcester

Conference Convenor, Inaugural Institute of Education Postgraduate Research Conference, Learners and Leaders in Education (2014)

Research Knowledge Transfer Sub-Committee Member, Research Student Representative, Institute of Education, University of Worcester (2010 - 2014)