Dr Michael Burnitt

Senior Lecturer

Health, Education, Policing and Sciences

After working within the fuel industry for ten years, I graduated from MMU with a First-Class honours degree in Education in 1992. As a teacher and senior leader, I have worked across the primary age range in a number of schools for over twenty years in the North-West of England. In 2014, I joined the Teach First Programme working with post-graduates, based at the University of Manchester, becoming Primary Lead after two years.

Joining Staffordshire University in June 2018, I set up and now jointly lead their new undergraduate BA in Primary Education with Qualified Teacher Status qualification. Since its inception, this course has enabled a diverse range of students to train and become successful primary practitioners across the Midlands and further afield. During this time, I have had the pleasure of working with a team of highly experienced tutors, all of whom have had many years of classroom based professional practice, as teachers and senior leaders within primary schools.

Across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, I lead on the science element of the core curriculum modules where I use my passion for chemistry and all things scientific to build trainees’ subject knowledge and pedagogical confidence to enable them to teach engaging and memorable lessons.

In addition, I work with some of our PhD and doctoral students as they complete their research at Staffs.

Finally, I currently lead the new Level 6 Teacher Apprenticeship route into teaching commencing in September 2024. This is an exciting new area which will enable many new people into the wonderful and highly rewarding career of teaching.

Academic qualifications

B.Ed (Hons) in Primary Education (MMU)
M.Ed in Educational Leadership (University of Manchester)
Ed.D in Educational Leadership (University of Manchester)
NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship)

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)


My areas of expertise lie within Initial Teacher Training/Education, focussing on curriculum knowledge, pedagogy and the concept of professionalism within primary teaching and learning environments.

I have carried out research in a number of areas, including: the selection of senior leaders, for which I was awarded a M.Ed. in 2007; pupil voice and school councils; and, most recently, on headteachers’ perceptions of accountability within differing socio-economic contexts, for which I was awarded a Doctorate in Education in 2016, from the University of Manchester.

Research interests

My research interests are focussed on the promotion of effective teaching and learning within the primary classroom and the overcoming of potential barriers. I am currently working on research which examines notions of respect from the primary teacher’s perspective and how primary based nurture groups are perceived by children and parents within differing socio-economic areas.

I am also researching the specific challenges faced by males entering initial teacher training, along with the impact of imposter syndrome on under and postgraduate student teachers.


My current post as joint course leader involves the support and teaching of under-graduate students during their three-year BA (Hons) degree course. Upon its completion, students will be fully qualified and ready to take up their first primary teaching role. Therefore, my current teaching revolves around the development of students’ curriculum and pedagogical knowledge in preparation for their new professional role. My subject specialism area is science which I teach across all levels. I am also currently second supervising three doctoral students during their thesis proposal and writing phases.


Burnitt, M. and Gunter, H., (2013). Primary school councils: Organization, composition and head teacher perceptions and values. Management in education, 27(2), pp.56-62.

Burnitt, M., (2016). Primary headteachers: perceptions on standards, accountability and school context. The University of Manchester (United Kingdom).

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