Paul Smalley

Name: Paul Smalley
Department: Secondary and Further Education
Current position: Course Leader BA (Hons) Secondary Religious Education with QTS
Location: Ormskirk Main Campus, Faculty of Education



  • Course Leader for BA (Hons) Secondary Religious Education 2012-Present
  • Course Leader for BA(Hons) Key Stage 2/3 Religious Education 2011-2015
  • Course Leader for Flexible PGCE Secondary RE2006-2011
  • Course Leader for PGCE Secondary RE 2008-9
  • Senior Lecturer PGCE Secondary RE2006-2011
  • High school teaching Career: Head of RE (and PSHE) 2001-2006, Head of Year 2000-2001, Head of RE 1995-2000 in Three different High schools


  • MA Religious Education 2011 Warwick
  • PGCE Secondary Religious Education 1995 Sheffield Hallam
  • BA(Hons) Biblical Studies 1993 Sheffield


Francis joined Edge Hill University in 2003 where he established and led the RE PGCE. In his current role, he is a Senior Lecturer in RE and teaches across PGCE and secondary undergraduate provision. He is an active researcher and is leading a project exploring teachers and young people’s understandings of British identity. Prior to joining Edge Hill University Francis taught in secondary schools and held posts as Head of Humanities and Head of RE, Sociology and Philosophy in a North West school.

Interests and Achievements


  • Chair of the National Association of SACREs
  • Authorised Representative on the RE Council of England and Wales.
  • Vice Chair of Halton SACRE
  • Member of AULRE
  • Member of NATRE
  • Member of the PSHE Subject Association


  • Solstice Fellow 2012- Present
  • From July 2013 – July 2016 Paul was a Coach Mentor for The Football Association, working with grassroots football coaches.
  • Paul is also a Primary school governor.
  • Since 2017 Paul was appointed as a Local Missional Leader within the Church Of England Diocese of Liverpool: St James, Westbrook.

Professional Development and Enhancement

  • External Adviser – York St John RE PGCE and School Direct (2016-)
  • External Consultant – UCLAN (2013-4) Periodic Course Review of BA(Hons) and MA Programmes in Religion Culture & Society
  • External examiner – Bath Spa University PGCE RE, PE, Art & Design (2011-2014)
  • Culham St Gabriel’s “Teach RE” Course Tutor (2009-)


 Paul is currently researching Religious Literacy, Assemblies in schools, the Present and future roles of SACREs, Lesson Study

McVittie, E. & Smalley, P. (2013) “The use of visualisations to develop the aesthetic aspects of spiritual literacy.” International Journal of Children’s Spirituality 18(2)

Bateman, I & Smalley, P (2011) “Grassroots Study Visit: Crosfields JFC” The Boot Room, (01) pp 51-55.

Smalley, P & Thompson, S (2009) “Islam with Impact: In Widnes” RE Today (27: 1) pp35

Smalley,P (2009) “Risky Edgy RE”, RE Today (26: 2), pp. 38-39


Knowledge Transfer and Enterprise

Conference Presentations:

  • Smalley, P. (2016) “20 Odd years of Religious Literacy: Where has RE got us?” Words beyond words: Inspiring religious literacy AULRE / AREIAC / NATRE JOINT CONFERENCE October 8 – 9, Blackburn
  • Smalley, P; Boorman, D; O’Doherty, E; Allan, D (2015) “An English Evolution of Lesson Study?” BERA Annual Conference, 15-17 September Queen’s University, Belfast.
  • Boorman, D; Smalley, P; O’Doherty, E; Allan, D (2015) “Does using Lesson Study in primary schools to collect primary data challenge teachers’ conceptions of how effectively children are learning?” BERA Annual Conference, 15-17 September Queen’s University, Belfast.
  • O’Doherty, E; Allan, D; Smalley, P; Boorman, D (2015) “Lesson Study: The Freedom to Learn?” BERA Annual Conference, 15-17 September Queen’s University, Belfast.
  • Smalley, P. (2014) “Blurring the Lines, Blending the Learning: Using Social Media to Enhance the Student Experience” Researching Education: Theory, Method and Practice, 9th July, Edge Hill University.
  • Smalley, P. (2014) “Whatsapp-ening in Higher Education” SOLSTICE & CLT Conference: Learning & Teaching in Higher Education: Effective Practices, 5th June, Edge Hill University.
  • McVittie, E. & Smalley, P. (2013) “Power can be positive: Children as meaning-makers of their own spiritual literacy.” 13th International Conference on Children’s Spirituality: For the sake of Children: hidden forms of power in caring for children’s spirituality. 10th-13th July, KU Leuven, Belgium.
  • McVittie, E. & Smalley, P. (2013) “Life journeys and learning: children as meaning-makers of their own spiritual literacy”, Subjects and Subjectivities Edge Hill University Faculty of Education, Fifth Annual Research Conference
  • 9th July, Edge Hill University.
  • McVittie, E. & Smalley, P. (2013) “Spiritual literacy embedded in the day to day?” AULRE Annual conference: The Influence of Research on Professional Practice in RE, 6th July, York St. John University
  • Knapton, H. & Smalley, P. (2013) “Keeping them warm: place on a sunny windowsill, water regularly?” Teaching & Learning Conference: Sharing Effective Practice in Frontline Teaching, 5th July, Edge Hill University
  • Smalley, P. (2013) “The use of Social Media to enhance the student experience from pre-application to post-graduation” SOLSTICE & CLTR Conference: Learning & Teaching in Higher Education: Effective Practices, 5th June, Edge Hill University

External Collaborations/ Partnership Activity:

Paul is collaborating with Linda Woodhead, Mairi Levitt (Lancaster) David Lundie (University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth) Claire Parkin (St Mary’s University, Twickenham) on Teacher attitudes towards school assemblies

Paul is also involved with a Theos think tank working towards ‘Building Consensus on the Future of RE’


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