Meet the Exec. 

Matthew Dell - ATCRE Chair

Matthew Dell is a senior lecturer at St Mary’s University (Twickenham), for Secondary RE. He leads on the RE PGCE programme as well as teaching on various MA in Education programmes.  Prior to taking up this post Matthew worked for twenty-five years as an RE teacher in three different schools. He has extensive experience in schools; in teaching RE, leading very successful RE Departments and as well as senior leadership positions in Catholic schools. 


Matthew has been a diocesan inspector for over 18 years and has inspected in four Catholic dioceses. Matthew’s recent Farmington Fellowship (at Oxford) allowed him to investigate issues and concerns about RE ITT via the SCITT route.  In recent years he has been collaborating with colleagues to create a new professional association for those who teach RE in Catholic schools (ACTRE).

Julia Cunningham 

Julia has been a teacher of RE in Stockport, South Manchester, at secondary level for 17 years, starting as a classroom teacher and progressing to Subject Leader. During that time she has been a member of SLT and an SLE of RE for the Diocese of Shrewsbury. For the past three years she has worked with Eduqas, delivering CPD to RE teachers and as a Team Leader during examination season.


Julia left her teaching post in July 2019 and is now the RE Coordinator for the Diocese of Shrewsbury working with both primary and secondary schools. Julia is also a member of the core consultation panel for the revised RE Curriculum Directory.


Nancy Conoboy

With 20 years of teaching Religious Education in London schools under her belt, Nancy brings with her a wealth of experience. She began laying the foundations for her career at Leeds University, studying Theology and Religious Studies before progressing to Leeds Trinity and All Saints to train as an RE teacher. After honing her skills as Head of Department for a number of years, Nancy became Assistant Principal at St Dominic’s VI Form College.


As well as leading on teaching and learning, Nancy continues to keep her classroom skills sharp, teaching A level Religious Studies and Philosophy for both of which she has also been an examiner. As an Inspector for the Diocese of Westminster, Nancy leads diocesan inspections, giving her a unique perspective and adding another dimension to her knowledge and understanding of RE.



Dr Sean Whittle

Dr Sean Whittle has been teaching RE for over twenty-five years. For many years he has been working at a really lovely Catholic school in West London (Gumley House Convent School), and is also involved in Research connected with Catholic education and RE.  Sean is a Visiting Research Fellow at St Mary’s University in Twickenham and at Roehampton University, and is a Research Associate with the CRDCE, with Professor Gerald Grace. Sean held a Fellowship at Heythrop College, University of London and completed his doctoral studies at the Institute of Education – UCL, defending a thesis on the theory or philosophy of Catholic education. His book, A Theory of Catholic Education (Bloomsbury 2014), presents a robust philosophy of Catholic education that draws heavily on insights from Karl Rahner. 

In recent years, Sean has been collaborating with other academics working in the field of Catholic education in order to create the Network for Researchers in Catholic Education. In 2018 he published two edited volumes ‘Researching Catholic Education’, (Springer) and Religious Education in Catholic schools in the UK and Ireland (Peter Lang).  Sean has also worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Brunel University on a Religious Literacy project with Dr David Aldridge, Prof. Gert Biesta and Dr Pat Hannam.



Helen Bridges - Secretary

Helen graduated from Durham University with a degree in Theology, before completing her PGCE in Secondary RE at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. After two years at Richard Challoner School, Helen moved to St Richard Reynolds Catholic College, where she became Head of RE. Helen greatly enjoyed developing the department in the context of a newly founded school, and the challenge of setting up provision at both key stage four and five. 


Helen completed an MBA in Education Management at King’s College London, in which she explored the challenges of providing holistic Catholic education in schools. She has recently relocated into the Diocese of Clifton, and continues to teach RE, alongside a new role as a learning and teaching coach.


Dave Legrand - Treasurer

David is a Secondary teacher in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. After graduating from Durham University in 2012, David completed a PGCE in Secondary RE at St Mary's University in Twickenham. David taught at St Peter's, Guildford for three years, where he developed a passion and specialism for A level Religious Studies and took on roles as Key Stage 5 coordinator and Second in Department.  He later moved to Salesian, Chertsey to become Head of Department, where he is currently doing his fourth year in the role. 


In addition to his departmental role, David is the RE tutor for Teach SouthEast. As well as developing new teachers through practical and theoretical training sessions, this role takes David to many schools in the diocese to observe lessons and support mentors and new RE teachers. 


Andy Lewis - Communications Officer

Andy has been teaching RE for 14  years, and is currently Assistant Headteacher at St Bonaventure's in East London. He works at a local and national level to improve the provision of Religious Education, and is both  Director of the Agnus Dei Teaching School Alliance and Director of RE.


Andy is a Specialist Leader in Education and has published books ranging from textbooks and revision material for the 2016 Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies specification, through to Key Stage 3 and General RE.


Roisin Sherrington 

Roisin is originally from Belfast and trained as a solicitor, before entering the teaching profession in 2001. After completing her degree, Roisin went on to study a Masters in Religion and Education at the University of Huddersfield. She now works in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, and has over fourteen years of experience as Head of Department.


Roisin loves teaching RE and working with and for young people who make her laugh and never cease to amaze her!  One day Roisin would love to train teachers and hopefully inspire a few young people along the way to join this great profession. Her motto is keep smiling and remember you always have one friend no matter what!

Peter Hornak

Peter was born in Slovakia and raised as a Roman Catholic, having experience of both Eastern Catholic and Orthodox rites. He studied Catholic Theology and Philosophy in depth in Slovakia, Poland and Ireland, resulting in a BA degree. Additionally, Peter holds a Master's degree in the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics. 

He has been teaching RE and successfully leading the RE department at a secondary school in the UK for many years. Peter is also a member of the school's Extended Leadership Team. His vast experience includes time spent as a Head of Year, SLT member, secondary school governor and a teacher of Mathematics. 

The association is seeking further members to represent different sectors and parts of the country. 


Please contact Matthew Dell to express your interest. 

© ATCRE 2020

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