Cathy Rutherford

Senior Lecturer

Health, Education, Policing and Sciences

In my teaching career of 25 years, I have taught in a range of primary schools. My curriculum specialisms are maths, design technology and music; I have led these subjects in my own schools and written and delivered CPD and bespoke consultancy work for schools locally and nationally. I had the pleasure of working as a numeracy consultant across two local authorities for seven years. This gave me a brilliant opportunity to focus on the subject I am most passionate about – maths. I advised schools on effective teaching of mathematics, ran courses for teachers and senior leaders and worked directly in schools to help make sure the subject was enjoyable, relevant and fun for the children learning it and the teachers teaching it.

Prior to joining Staffordshire University, I spent 16 years as a headteacher of several schools, from a two-class rural primary school to a three-form entry town infant school, judged outstanding by Ofsted. In these roles, I specialised in curriculum innovation, leadership development and the impact of values within schools; I have supported other schools in each of these areas on behalf of Local Authorities, local Teaching Schools and Lichfield Diocese. During my time as headteacher of a Church of England primary school, the school consistently achieved ‘outstanding’ outcomes from Statutory Inspections of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) inspections. As director of one of Shropshire’s only two primary phase Teaching School Alliances, I led the strategic planning of the local CPD offer, was the Initial Teacher Education lead and took part in strategic school improvement projects, supporting schools where progress was weak.

Based on my practice, I have been asked to write various documents and run courses for teachers across Shropshire, the West Midlands and nationally in a range of subjects, including mathematics, originality in the curriculum, RE, design technology and leadership in Church of England schools. I have also won national prizes for curriculum innovation, and one awarded jointly by the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and the Design Technology Association for excellent cross curricular links between the subjects.

I am now pleased to be part of the Primary Education team here at Staffordshire University, where I can put my experience to use helping the next generation of teachers to become outstanding practitioners who will develop a love of learning in the children they teach.

Academic qualifications

Master of Education (Educational Research and Mathematics Education), 2007, Open University

National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), 2005, Department for Education

Bachelor of Education (Hons), 1995, University of Wales (North East Wales Institute of Higher Education)


Mathematics pedagogy

Design technology pedagogy

Early years

Curriculum innovation

School leadership

Values education

Research interests

My previous research has focused on the areas of primary mathematics education and perceptions of the role of headteacher within small schools. I am currently studying for a doctorate; my research investigates how different factors affect children’s ability to calculate effectively in the primary phase.  


BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS degree:

Level 4 Professional Studies


Preparation for employment


Primary PGCE programme:


Early years

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021