Mrs Joanna Holmes

Senior Teaching Fellow



Personal statement

I am an ex-secondary Head Teacher who has spent 20 years working at senior levels in both English and Scottish schools. I joined the University in 2014 to lead a project aimed at strengthening the partnership approach to Initial Teacher Education, working across two Universities and nine Local Authorities. From there I become heavily involved in the development, writing and teaching of our Masters courses in Educational Leadership as well as our Headship qualifications.

I have held and continue to hold a range of strategic leadership roles within the School of Education and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. I am currently the Deputy Head of the School of Education (Teaching and Learning). I served as the Director of Post Graduate Taught courses within the School of Education from 2019-2022 and was the HaSS Associate Dean for Post Graduate Taught courses from 2020-2022. I have led the MEd in Educational Leadership since 2017. I was awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) in 2021.

My research interests are focused on leadership preparation and development across different hierarchical structures in schools. Having gained a Distinction award at Masters level, I am currently in the final stages of my doctoral studies, exploring the formation of leadership identity and how this intercepts with emotional intelligence. Having had a successful viva I plan to make my final submission early in 2023.

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Area of Expertise

Leadership and Management development

Design and delivery of bespoke leadership courses

Teacher Leadership

Educational Organisational Culture

Change management

Senior leadership preparation and development

Identity formation

Emotional Intelligence/Competencies

Coaching (I am currently pursuing an ILM level 5 coaching qualification)


National Professional Qualification for Headship; awarded by The National College for School Leadership; June 2006

Full registration with General Teaching Council for Scotland; Secondary teaching in Physics and Mathematics

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I am course leader for the Management and Leadership in Education Masters programme.

I am module leader on our new Masters programme on Educational Leadership, titles which include: Conceptions of Leadership: Contexts for Leadership: Strategic Leadership: Work-based Project.

I have been a course tutor for our National Qualification Masters Programme for Headteachers (Into Headship).

I have supervised Undergraduate and Masters dissertation students in a variety of projects related to leadership and management.

I have also designed and delivered bespoke leadership courses to a variety of clients.

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Research Interests

My research interests focus on the study of leadership and in particular the development of leadership. This includes development of leadership capabilities in both formal and informal aspects.  I am interested in the importance in organisational culture and its relationship to staff development.

My main current research activities are focused on exploring leadership identity formation and emotional competencies in the educational leader.

I am a member of the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) where I am also member of their Research Interest Group in Leadership Preparation and Development.

I have supervised a number of students in their Masters Dissertation or Final Year project in topics related to leadership or leading change as follows:


MSc Dissertation: The Effect of Authentic, Distributed and Transformational Leadership on students’ performance at school level.


MEd Dissertation: Assessing the effectiveness of collaborative pedagogies in the mainstream classroom for pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

MEd Worked Based Project: Developing a reading culture across a Primary School and applying for the Reading Schools Award as awarded by the Book Trust Scotland.

MEd Worked Based Project: Raising Attainment and Achievement through a consistent Play/PEBL approach.

MEd Worked Based Project: Learning for Sustainability

MEd Worked Based Project: Empowering learners through Pupil Voice


MEd Dissertation: A Literature-based Study on Emotional Intelligence and Effective Leadership

MEd Dissertation: Exploring the Empowerment Agenda within a Scottish School

MSc Dissertation: The Developmental “Heroic journey” of the Tutors of the Management Development Programme


MEd Dissertation:  Exploring Middle Leaders Understanding & Perceptions of Collegiality in Secondary Education

MEd Dissertation: Is young children's curiosity suitably challenged in an Inquiry-Based Learning Environment?

MEd Dissertation: Social Justice in Education: An exploratory review of the concepts of Social Justice and Social Justice Leadership, with a Scottish perspective

MEd Dissertation: How does national policy conceptualise the enactment of teachers as leaders though a leadership for all agenda?

MEd Worked Based Project: Leading curriculum change

MEd Worked Based Project: Establishing mechanisms and structures for formally recording and acting upon pupil voice for school improvement.

MEd Worked Based Project: School Improvement Through Pupil Voice.

MEd Worked Based Project: Leading and managing the expansion of increased hours of high quality, Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) across a local authority.


MSc Dissertation: The role of parental involvement to enhance students’ attendance and achievement in primary schools

MSc Dissertation: Challenges Facing Arab Female Leaders in Education across Arab Countries

MEd Dissertation: A study into the understanding and development of Teacher Leadership in Scottish Schools.

MEd Dissertation: An Investigation into the Pupil Equity Fund leadership roles within Primary Schools

MEd Worked Based Project: Can Personal Support improve pupil wellbeing?  How can we measure the Wider Achievements of learners to close the achievement gap?

MEd Worked Based Project: Teacher Professionalism: Engaging Teachers in Meaningful Professional Learning

MEd Worked Based Project:  Introducing professional enquiry to all staff through professional reading.  

MEd Worked Based Project: How effective is Philosophy for Children in helping to develop the critical thinking skills of upper primary pupils in my school?’

MEd Worked Based Project: Implementing the Transformation of the Management Structure of a College

MEd Worked Based Project: How can positive parental engagement be enhanced in high attaining

primary schools?

MEd Worked Based Project: Parental Engagement in Numeracy and Digital Technologies

MEd Worked Based Project: Involving and engaging parents and families in their children’s learning


MEd Dissertation: Parental Engagement – why should we ask for the parents’ views?

MEd Dissertation: A research project investigating the development of an additional support needs resource within a mainstream secondary school

MSc Dissertation: Middle Leadership in Primary Schools: Succession of Strategic Leaders or Operational Managers at a Standstill

MSc Dissertation: Emotional Intelligence in Transformational Leadership

MEd Worked Based Project: Improving data from Tracking in order to  plan effective and timeous interventions for pupils

MEd Worked Based Project: Improving pastoral tracking in to improve pastoral interventions.

MEd Worked Based Project: How can tracking within the Broad General Education be more reflective of pupils’ individual progress, and how can this be consistently used across the department

MEd Worked Based Project: What constitutes a positive post school destination for young people with complex additional support needs and what programme of activity requires to be in place to support this?

MEd Worked Based Project: Leading to close the attainment gap.


MEd Dissertation: The Effect of Pupil Voice on the Perception of Pupil Agency

MEd Dissertation: An exploration of humility in Scottish public middle leaders.

MEd Worked Based Project: Building capacity of the staff to support participation in Wider Achievement

MEd Worked Based Project: Exploring the important role parents can play in supporting the development of their child’s learning by working in partnership with the school.

MEd Worked Based Project: Working in collaboration with stakeholders to meet the needs of young people, whilst seeking to raise the attainment levels

MEd Worked Based Project: Review of the House System to enhance and complement current policy and status as a Scottish Attainment Challenge School.


MSc Dissertation: Learner Engagement:  How a Further Education College Engages with Learners

Professional Activities

External Examiner Activities at Birmingham City University
Columba 1400 Leadership Academy
Management in Education (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Aurora Women's Leadership Development Programme
Fengtai district, Beijing Head teachers visit
British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society

More professional activities


Building Teacher Leadership
Holmes, Joanna (Principal Investigator)
This course is offered through the University as a CLPL event for teachers, course descriptor:

The course is the opportunity for teachers and middle leaders to develop their skills and will touch on the importance of teachers having a voice as leaders and the values of leaders as enabling respect and fulfilment in the workplace.

Through interactive activities, discussion and debate, participants will consider the latest research and theories in relation to their own situation and context. It will allow them to reflect on their own preferred styles and to complete self-reflection during key stages of the programme. The challenges of empowerment and potential ramifications of this in relation to their role will be explored.

This short course draws on our MEd in Educational Leadership and acts well as a standalone course, or as a potential pre-cursor to further study. The final stages of the course will give guidance to participants in exploring their potential for leadership within their current roles, what that might look like and how they can move forward.
03-Jan-2021 - 24-Jan-2021
Building Teacher Leadership: The first Five Years
Holmes, Joanna (Principal Investigator)
This course has been organised by the EIS through Scottish Union Learning and was financed by the Scottish Government. The University won this contract through a competitive tendering process.

Course descriptor:

The overall aim of this course is to ensure participants in the first five years of their career can explore and build their own leadership skills within their workplace. These skills may be towards career progression, and may be toward leading areas of work.
12-Jan-2020 - 03-Jan-2020
Teaching in Higher Education: training programme with Beijing Institute of Technology (Zhuhai)
Roxburgh, David (Administrator) Holmes, Joanna (Academic) McKay, Norrie (Academic)
4 week training event for 33 university academics. Responsible for input from School of Education, University of Strathclyde
30-Jan-2018 - 24-Jan-2018
Using Evaluation for School Improvement: Teacher CPD, Hexi District, Tianjin, China
Roxburgh, David (Co-investigator) Holmes, Joanna (Principal Investigator)
Contractual and organisational lead
06-Jan-2017 - 17-Jan-2017
School Evaluation for Improvement and Integrated Approaches to STEM Learning
Roxburgh, David (Principal Investigator) Holmes, Joanna (Co-investigator)
06-Jan-2017 - 18-Jan-2017
Nurturing School Ethos to Improve Educational Attainment
Cassidy, Claire (Principal Investigator) Holmes, Joanna (Co-investigator) Klein, Markus (Co-investigator) Sosu, Edward (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2019

More projects

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Mrs Joanna Holmes
Senior Teaching Fellow

Tel: 444 8006