The Academic Team
A project of this importance needs intellectual input of the highest calibre, combining a deep understanding of Islam, of modern academic thought and of contemporary British culture. The following team has been assembled.
Professor Roy Bhaskar
Professor Roy Bhaskar is World Scholar at the Institute of Education, University of London and the founder of the philosophy of Critical Realism with an expertise in the Philosophy of Religion. Critical Realism has had an enormous influence on the natural and social sciences over the past 25 years. Professor Bhaskar is regarded by many as one of the world’s most innovative and creative philosophers.
Ms Christine Counsell
Christine Counsell has been a leading thinker in the development of history education, history curricula and teacher education in the UK and internationally for the last 20 years. Christine taught history in state secondary comprehensive schools for ten years and for three years was deputy headteacher in a comprehensive school in Bristol, UK. In 1997 Christine was appointed by the University of Cambridge to lead its secondary school PGCE history teaching-training course. This teaching training programme is now considered one of the best and most rigorous in the UK. Christine acted as a consultant at UK national policy level for the review of the National Curriculum for History in England in 1994 and 2007.
Professor Chris Husbands
Professor Chris Husbands is Director of the Institute of Education, University of London. He was a teacher in urban comprehensive schools where he was rapidly promoted to senior management before moving into Higher Education. He was a Board Member at the Training & Development Agency for Schools between 2006-2012 and is a member of the RSA Academies Commission. He has served as a Board Member at two examining groups, Edexcel and the Assessment & Qualifications Alliance. He has worked as a consultant or adviser to Local Authorities, OFSTED, the Department for Education, the Qualifications & Curriculum Authority and the National College for School Leadership.
Professor Richard Pring
Professor Richard Pring was Professor of Educational Studies and Director of the Department of Educational Studies at the University of Oxford from 1989 to 2003. From 2003 to 2009, he was also Lead Director of the Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education & Training. His latest book, ‘The Life and Death of Secondary Education for All’ was published by Routledge in 2012.
Professor Pring worked with the Aga Khan University in Karachi, helping to develop and teach the doctoral programme within the Institute for Educational Development. For his work with the AKU over 15 years he received the Aga Khan’s ‘Award of Distinction’ in 2007.
He has also served as a Trustee of Family Links, President of the Socialist Education Association, and on the Executive Committee of the Philosophy of Education Society.
Dr Julia Ipgrave
Dr Julia Ipgrave is Senior Research Fellow at the Religions & Education Research Unit, University of Warwick. Her research interests include young people’s religious understanding, religion in education and inter religious encounter. She has participated in a number of UK and European projects and published widely in these fields. She undertakes evaluation and consultation work for religious education and inter religious/inter cultural dialogue programmes. She is education specialist member on the Christian Muslim Forum. She has also worked for 16 years as class teacher and school manager for most of this time in a predominantly Muslim inner city area.
Salah Al-Ansari is Visiting Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Heythrop College, University of London where he is also completing his PhD on Muhammad Abu Zahra and Islamic Modernism and Imam of the Margate Mosque, Kent. Salah became a hafiz of the Qur’an (someone who has memorised the whole Qur’an) at 13 years of age. He graduated in Classical and Modern Islamic Studies from the prestigious Al-Azhar University, Cairo in 2000. Salah was appointed an Imam and teacher at the Central London Mosque (2004-2007). He then worked in a number of mosques run by the Al-Birr Foundation in Margate, Woking and Basingstoke, where he did extensive inter-faith work in collaboration with Hampshire County Council and at Palmers Green Mosque. Salah is also a Muslim chaplain to the Kent Refugee Action Network and Muslim advisor to Lord Maurice Glasman.
Dr Edward Kessler
Dr Edward Kessler MBE is the Executive Director of The Woolf Institute in Cambridge and is also a Fellow of St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. He has a First-Class Joint Honours Degree in Hebrew & Religious Studies from the University of Leeds and a Master of Theological Studies Degree from Harvard Divinity School. He completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge. In 2006, he received the Sternberg Interfaith Award from philanthropist Sir Sigmund Sternberg ‘in recognition of outstanding services in furthering relations between faiths’. He was awarded the MBE for services to inter-faith relations in 2011.
Ms Basma El-Shayyal has taught in mainstream, supplementary and faith schools in a senior capacity for the past twenty years and was Head of RE at Islamia Girls’ High School until 2013. She is a longstanding member of Brent Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE) which advises schools on the Religious Education curriculum and was made its Vice-Chair in 2013. She is also on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Religious Education.
Mr Tim Winter
Tim Winter (Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad) is the Shaykh Zayed Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge and Dean of the Cambridge Muslim College. In 2009, Tim Winter was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.
Dr Matthew L.N. Wilkinson
Director and Principal Researcher
Dr Matthew L.N. Wilkinson was educated at Eton College where he was awarded a prestigious King’s Scholarship and at Trinity College, Cambridge where his first year performance in Theology & Religious Studies was recognised by a scholarship.
After embracing Islam in 1991, Matthew taught History and Religious Studies in mainstream, supplementary and faith schools in a senior capacity for fifteen years in the UK and abroad.
In 2007, he was awarded an ESRC Studentship to undertake his PhD entitled “History Curriculum, Citizenship and Muslim Boys: Learning to Succeed?” at King’s College London.
He is the founder of Curriculum for Cohesion and the originator of the Islamic Critical Realism philosophical synthesis.