I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education. I joined the University in 2005 after twenty-eight years in the classroom, the last seven of which as Depute Head Teacher at Vale of Leven Academy in West Dunbartonshire. I hold the Scottish Qualification for Headship and have carried out a range of leadership roles within the School of Education, as Course Leader for the former M Ed; the MSc/MEd in Leadership and Management; and the Scottish Qualification for Headship. Together with Emeritus Professor John MacBeath of the University of Cambridge, I developed and led a new Masters-level qualification in Educational Leadership which has been highly successful in attracting students. Working with the Scottish College for Educational Leadership and colleagues from other Higher Education Institutions, I have developed Into Headship at the University of Strathclyde for which I am currently Course Leader. I played a key role in rationalising Masters-level provision across the School of Education. I also held the role of Post Graduate Research Co-ordinator with responsibility for doctoral students. I have participated within the university’s mentoring scheme as a mentor and mentee.
My PhD, ‘Teaching for Understanding within the Affective Field’, undertaken at the University of Glasgow, focuses upon the evaluation of a social constructivist approach to support children with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Needs. This work was developed further through the award of a research and development grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to develop the approach in two Scottish Local Authorities – Falkirk and Aberdeenshire - across the transition from Primary to Secondary school. I was then commissioned by Aberdeenshire to develop the approach across the local authority. I have undertaken consultancy work with a range of schools and local authorities, including leading work with two South Lanarkshire learning communities focussing on practitioner enquiry. I have developed Masters-level modules focussing on understanding and responding to children with social, emotional and behavioural needs.
My research interests are broad but the principal areas relate to inclusion and leadership, with a specific focus on leadership for social justice. More recently, my work has focussed on broader issues of marginalisation and the relationship between poverty, attainment and wellbeing, including a focus on transitions. I was formerly an executive member of the Scottish Educational Research Council and I am currently Co-Convenor of the SERA Leadership for Scottish Education Network. I was commissioned by SCEL to write a set of research briefs. I served on the selection panel for the Academy of Social Sciences’ publication ‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences no. 12: Education.’ I have worked with third sector organisations such as Character Scotland for whom I took on the role of Conference Rapporteur.
I was Co-Lead for a successful bid to the Scottish Universities Insight Institute to host a series of seminars titled ‘Poverty, attainment and wellbeing: Making a difference to the lives of children and young people,’ hosted in the course of 2018-2019. This brings together the work of four universities and a range of charitable bodies and foundations. The Scottish Government took an active interest in the work and met with representatives of the organising team to discuss the implications of the research briefs which were the outcome of the work. It has led to further opportunities such as forging partnerships with the NHS, 3rd sector organisations and participating in the Scottish Parliament Cross-Party group on Children and Young People. I have also been successful in gaining a book contract from Routledge entitled, ‘Equitable, inclusive and caring schools: Reconceptualising Behaviour Management to Support Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.’