Jo Williamson (Warnock), a graduate of the CCCU Primary Education programme, has won the Alumni of the Year Award, she says:”I am delighted to have won this years CCCU Alumni award. Having graduated from CCCU in 2001 as a primary school teacher, 11 years later I went on to become the Headteacher of a local primary school, St John’s Church of England. I have been Headteacher since 2012 and during this time the school has worked closely with CCCU. It is such a privilege to support the University, as for me it was a life changing place and holds many special memories.”

Jo is the Headmistress of St John’s Church of England Primary School in Canterbury. She is described by her nominees as “an exceptional alumna, who willingly offers both her own, and her school’s, time to support Christ Church through a wide range of activities.” These have included:

  • regularly assisting in the recruitment interviewing process for prospective students.
  • leading a workshop at the Faculty of Education Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT) conference around teacher wellbeing.
  • contributing to teaching on the BA Year 1 Primary Education module.
  • rethinking teaching, learning and assessment when she was part of a headteachers’ roundtable.
  • serving on the Faculty of Education’s Partnership Executive Committee.
  • being heavily involved with the revalidation of the Primary Education programmes, both BA and PGCE, giving guidance as to the relevant school-based content for the new modules.
  • offering large numbers of student placements at her school, where the Faculty can be confident that students’ progress and development will be expertly mentored and supported. There are currently 14 Christ Church students based at St John’s. Last year, Jo offered three Christ Church NQTs teaching positions in her school. There is strong evidence that indicates that the support and mentoring they are receiving is ensuring a successful NQT year.

Jo Williamson with Harriet Burrowes and Katie Gravenor from St John’s Primary.


Jo has carried this commitment through with great determination, even when her school faced difficult and complex circumstances. During this time, Jo devised a highly creative approach that enabled Christ Church students to volunteer their time to engage with children’s learning through a structured reading mentor programme. This both supported the children’s development and our students’ understanding of the importance of a reading curriculum tailored to individual children’s needs. This enrichment project has now run for four years and continues to be greatly appreciated by the students who take part.

Jo Williamson with Harriet Burrowes and Katie Gravenor from St John’s Primary and CCCU Primary staff Catherine Carden and Tracey Parvin.


Jo remembers her time at Canterbury Christ Church with great fondness having moved from High Wycombe for her university place and remained in the Canterbury area since: “I still remember the first induction and how you felt you were starting out on a new venture. It gave me such a good starting block in my career. I still feel part of of the CCCU community.”

The Faculty of Education is so proud of Jo and thanks her for all she does. Our students thrive during their time at the school and are given so many opportunities to observe and experience enthusiastic and stimulating teaching.

Well done, Jo!