Emma McVittie

My teaching experience spans across both primary and secondary phases and includes work as a Religious Education advisor and consultant. I have worked in a variety of settings including special schools and pupil referral units and gained a Masters in Special Educational Needs while teaching. I left full time teaching in 2004 to take up a post as senior lecturer in Initial Teacher Education specialising in Religious Education. During this time I completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and began my PhD.

I began at York St John University in 2013 and I am currently the cohort leader for the PGCE Secondary RE Programme with a responsibility for developing the use of technology and creativity within the programme.

Further Information


My main teaching is within the PGCE Secondary RE Programme although I am also involved in the School Direct programme. I am the programme liaison between the primary and secondary teams and the Development Officer for the David Hope RE Centre. I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the web keeper and committee member for the International Association of Children’s' Spirituality. I am a professional member of the Association of University Lecturers in RE and the National Association of Teachers of RE.


My research interests are centred around the creative use of Religious Education in the classroom, spiritual literacy and development and reflection in RE.

  • Developing reflective practice in the primary school: Working with schools throughout the country to create reflective spaces for Key Stage 2 children linked to RE. Using a variety of reflective techniques to deepen children's learning and understanding of themselves and others.
  • Whole school spiritual development: A nationwide project to design a whole school resource to promote spiritual development throughout primary school.
  • Engaging children with spiritual literacy through neuro-linguistic programming (NLP): A collaborative project working across phases (KS2 and 3) to explore the use of NLP as a scaffold to support cross-curricular spiritual development.
  • The use of creative assessment in higher education at level 5: A collaborative project with the University of Dundee working with primary QTS students to model effective creative assessment techniques for dissertations.


Journal Articles:

McVittie, E. & Smalley, P. (2013) “Using visualisations to develop the aesthetic aspects of spiritual literacy” International Journal of Children's Spirituality Vol 18:2. pp200-213

McVittie, E (2010) 'Creativity in RE ' RE Today. Autumn 2010

Boyd, P., Baker, L., Harris, K., Kynch, C. and McVittie, E. (2006) ‘Working with multiple identities: supporting new teacher education tutors in Higher Education’, in S.Bloxham, S. Twiselton and A. Jackson (Eds.) Challenges and Opportunities: developing learning and teaching in ITE across the UK, ESCalate 2005 Conference proceedings, Higher Education

McVittie, E (2005) 'The role of the teaching assistant: An investigative study to discover if teaching assistants are being used effectively to support children with special educational needs in mainstream schools' Education 3-13. Vol 33:3. pp26-33

Book Chapters:

McVittie, E. (2012) 'Children as Reflective Learners' in Hansen, A. (ed) Reflective Learning and Teaching in Primary Schools. Exeter: Learning Matters

McVittie, E (2010) 'Creativity and Reflection in Religious Education – Refreshes the Parts Other Approaches Can't Reach' in Schmack, J et al (ed) Engaging Religious Education. Newcastle:Cambridge Scholars. Pp123-139

Professional Activity

  • RE consultant for Children Count Ltd.
  • Director of ME! – a nationwide project and large scale resource which supports children's spiritual development in school.
  • Core member of the team at REonline (www.reonline.org.uk) as one of the leading specialists, identifying and developing teacher and pupil resources
  • Member of the writing team for the Cumbria SACRE and involved in the revision of the agreed syllabus 2011.
Cookie Settings