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Department of Education

Katharine Burn

Associate Professor of Education

College Affiliation: St Cross College

Katharine is an Associate Professor of Education and coordinator of the Oxford Education Deanery: a multi-strand partnership with schools, focused on the development of teachers’ research engagement through initial teacher education, early career professional learning and collaborative university/school research projects.

She teaches on the PGCE History programme and on the MSc in Learning and Teaching as well as supervising Master’s and doctoral students in the fields of history education and teacher education (both policy and practice) at all career stages.

Katharine taught history for ten years in state secondary schools in Oxford and retains a strong commitment to history education as Deputy President of the Historical Association and as co-editor of its professional journal, Teaching History. She is also a Fellow of the Schools History Project. For the last ten years she has been responsible (with Rebecca Harris, of Reading University) for an annual survey of history teaching in England, conducted on behalf of the Historical Association. She is particularly passionate about ensuring history for all young people and about supporting teachers’ continued engagement with historical scholarship and is currently exploring how the’ knowledge exchange and impact agenda’ is being harnessed to support sustained subject-rich CPD for teachers.

Katharine became interested in teachers’ professional learning through adopting an action research approach to the development of mentoring strategies in the early years of the Oxford Internship programme and her doctoral research later examined the Internship principle of learning to teach as ‘process of hypothesis-testing’. She was Research Officer for a 3-year longitudinal study of beginning teachers’ learning and has since been involved in a range of projects looking at different aspects of teacher education policy and practice, including comparative studies. She contributed to the BERA-RSA Inquiry into the Role of Research in Teacher Education and represented BERA at presentations of the final report in the US and Australia.
Her current role coordinating the work of the Oxford Education Deanery has inspired new interests in teachers’ use of research and she is working collaboratively with local teachers on a participatory study of the role of Research Champions in schools.

External Appointments

Deputy President of the Historical Association since June 2018

Funded Research Projects:

  • Tricky Topics: ESRC Impact Accelerator

  • 2016-17

    Award in collaboration with Open University

  • Research Use in Schools

  • 2016-17

    (University of Oxford John Fell Fund)

  • Recruitment and Retention of Teachers in Oxfordshire

  • 2015-16

    (Oxfordshire County Council)

Doctoral Applications

Katharine welcomes doctoral applications from students interested in the following research areas:

  • Initial teacher education – beginning teachers’ learning, clinical practice, the integration of knowledge from different sources, mentoring strategies, teacher education policy;
  • Teachers’ continued professional learning – the development of subject-specific pedagogy, learning within and beyond subject departments, teacher engagement in and with research;
  • History education – including the impact of policy on curriculum and pedagogy; inclusive pedagogies (the value of history for all); curriculum planning and the integration of substantive and second order concepts.