Course Leader

Esther began her career in primary schools as a class teacher, quickly progressing to having middle leadership responsibilities for subjects including RE, Collective Worship, and Modern Foreign Languages. She has worked as a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) in coastal Kent, Oxford, and North Yorkshire. Esther has experience of working with nursery and primary settings. She has held senior leadership responsibilities, which encompassed the role of Inclusion Manager and extended her as a senior leader as a subject and a EYFS lead.   

Esther moved to working in Higher Education in 2017 when she began working at Leeds Beckett University. She was a key lecturer on the new BA Primary Education (accelerated degree), where she developed materials for every level of the new programme. Esther had leadership responsibilities for Level 4 and 6 students and was also the Course Leader. Esther's teaching portfolio diversified, teaching on QTS and non-QTS undergraduate and post-graduate programmes. She developed a new programme, BA Special Educational Needs, Disability, and Inclusion. Esther became a Course Director, overseeing MA Inclusive Practice in Education, BA Primary Education (accelerated degree), and BA Special Educational Needs, Disability, and Inclusion. 

As an active researcher, Esther is currently studying for her PhD, examining the relationship between values, ethos, and policy in schools. She is a co-convenor for the BERA Special Interest Group for Religions, Values and Education. In her brief time as an academic, Esther has spoken at several conferences. She is very keen to close the gaps between theory, policy, and practice; in particular, she strives to incorporate an inclusive pedagogical approach to her teaching and leadership. Esther has Cornish roots and was delighted to join Falmouth University in 2022 as the Course Leader for MA Education (online).

External Links

Headshot of Esther Cummins

Contact details



Year Qualification Awarding body
2016 MA International Educational Management (Distinction) University of Leeds
2012 Postgraduate certificate Co-ordination of Special Educational Needs Pass and National Award Special Educational Needs Co-ordination Canterbury Christ Church University
2005 BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS (First) Canterbury Christ Church University

Honors and awards

Year Description

Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Research Interests

Research interests and expertise

I'm a part-time doctoral student at The University of Manchester. My PhD focuses on the relationship between values, ethos and policy in faith majority schools. I have undertaken my research through interviews and plan on completing some policy analysis. I am always keen to discussion my research and to hear about others studying in the same field of interest.

Conference presentations

Cummins, E. (2022).  School ethos:How different members of school communities make sense of it. In TEAN Conference.Online. 

Cummins, E., Lundie, D., Elton-Chalcraft, S., Wright, K., Flanagan, R., & Ackroyd, R. (2021). Hot Topic Symposium: Teachers of Religious Education and Ofsted’s Research Review. In British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2021. Online.

Cummins, E. (2021). A Consistent Approach to MyBeckett. In Centre of Learning and Teaching: DEAP21 Inclusive Practice. Leeds Beckett University, Online.

Cummins, E. (2021). Researching the ethos of Catholic schools using Bourdieu's thinking tool of cultural capital: what do stakeholders need to feel that they belong?. In The GradNet 13th Annual Postgraduate Conference ‘Communication, Connectivity, and Convergence'. Online.

Cummins, E. (2021). Researching values and ethos in faith majority schools. In Annual Prevent Extremism and Islam seminar: BERA religion, values and education SIG.

Cummins, E. (2021). Researching the ethos of Catholic schools using Bourdieu's thinking tools of field and cultural capital. In University of Manchester SEED PGR Conference 2021. Online.

Archer, J., & Cummins, E. (2019). Who am I and who are you?. In 10th TEAN Conference. Aston Conference Centre, Birmingham.

Cummins, E., & Archer, J. (2019). Partnering with Professionals, Students and Academics: Developing experiences for all. In 10th TEAN conference. Aston Conference Centre, Birmingham.

Cummins, E. M., & Archer, J. (2018). Whatever Next? Professional Experiences on an Accelerated Degree.. In 9th TEAN conference. Aston Conference Centre, Birmingham.

Chapter contributions

Cummins, E. (2022) Chapter contribution: ‘Christian values- it’s who I am’. In Kara, B. and Wilson, H. eds. Diverse Educators: A Manifesto.  London: University of Buckingham Press

Areas of teaching

In my previous institution, I taught on modules across QTS and non-QTS undergraduate and post-graduate programmes:

  • PGCE with QTS: 3-7, 5-11, and secondary
  • MA Childhood and Education Studies
  • BA Primary Education (accelerated degree)
  • BA Special Educational Needs, Disability, and Inclusion

I have designed courses and module specifications for programmes, and I have taught on new and pre-existing programmes.

Drawing on my research interests and my background in education, I have expertise to teach on a range of education studies programmes.  My favourite areas of focus have been:

  • Education policy; reading, understanding, and enacting policy
  • Reflecting on professional experiences using theory
  • Christian leadership in education
  • The place of values, ethos, and faith in education settings
  • Inclusive pedagogy as a tool for equality
  • Storytelling in schools, especially for looked after and adopted children
  • Best practices for supporting bilingual children

Professional Engagement

Engagement with professional associations and societies

I am a member of the  British Educational Research Association (BERA) and a Co-convener of their Special Interest Group (SIG) for Religions, Values and Education.