Catherine O'Brien's primary teaching career has spanned over two decades. Before deciding to become a primary teacher Catherine pursued a career in advertising and publishing. She studied for a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education in 1994 at the University of Lancaster, specialising in music for primary aged children. After graduating in 1995, she taught in the private and state sector including working in the Middle East, the Isle of Man and local primary schools in and around the Teesside area.
Catherine has considerable experience with all age groups from Foundation Stage to Key Stage Two. As a primary practitioner, in 2010 she undertook a Leadership Pathways course from the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services. Her specialist interests include music, science, sustainability, Forest School and Special Educational Needs.
As a practitioner, she also established a Nurture group based on the Boxall profile in a local primary school. Since becoming a university lecturer Catherine continues to maintain her contact with local primary schools. She is a Director of a local primary school to which she offers consultation on pedagogy, Pupil Premium, and on teaching and learning strategies.
In 2013 Catherine gained her MA in Education at Teesside University. Her master's research focused on promoting pupil voice through a number of small scale business enterprises for children. She was awarded fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2016.
Catherine has lectured at Teesside University since 2013. Currently Catherine lectures on the Early Childhood Studies degree. She is the Year One tutor, is module leader for Exploring Curriculum in Educational Settings and lectures on a number of other modules. She has also lectured in Malaysia as part of the ECS delivery internationally.
Catherine has contributed to book reviews around primary practice.