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 have held an extensive range of leadership-related roles in the School of Education, including Post Graduate Research Co-ordinator; and Course Leader for six masters-level courses. I have been responsible for the development of the highly successful MEd in Educational Leadership and Into Headship.
My research interests are broad but the principal areas relate to inclusion and leadership, coalescing in a 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. I have a specific interest in mental health, social, emotional and behavioural needs (SEBN) and transitions and, more recently, the impact of Covid-19 on the wellbeing of children and young people. I am currently engaged in research on how school leaders have supported their school communities during the pandemic, funded by a BELMAS grant. I am also authoring a commissioned monograph for Routledge, focussing on the creation of equitable, inclusive, caring and compassionate schools.
I gained funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to carry out a research and development project in two local authorities in Scotland evaluating an intervention to support children with SEBN across the Primary-Secondary transition. This led to further consultancy work in one local authority. I am currently leading a research and development project focussing on practitioner enquiry in South Lanarkshire.
I was formerly an executive member of the Scottish Educational Research Council and I am founder and Co-Convenor of the SERA Leadership for Scottish Education Network. I have undertaken several commissioned pieces of work, including working with the 3rd sector. I served on the selection panel for the Academy of Social Sciences’ publication ‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences no. 12: Education.’
I am an active participant in the International Bridge 47 network focussing on the achievement of UNICEF’s sustainable development goals. I also participate within the International Network of Transitions Researchers. I am a member of the Cross Party Group on Children and Young People convened by the Scottish Parliament.
I successful co-led a Scottish Universities Insight Institute Seminar series - ‘Poverty, attainment and wellbeing: Making a difference to the lives of children and young people’ - hosted in the course of 2018-2019. The Scottish Government and Education Scotland took an active interest in this work and representatives of the organising team were invited to the Scottish Parliament to share the research briefs. It has led to further opportunities such as forging partnerships with the NHS, 3rd sector organisations and international collaborations.