Educational Leadership and Management

Educational leadership is a diverse and developing field and is a key part of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation at the University of Derby.

We are passionate about leadership across the range of education provision and have a strong team of academics who, with local and national partners, strive to improve, update and offer practical solutions to educational leaders.

We are engaged in supporting a number of primary schools in the leadership of inquiry-based pedagogy within Derby City and with a Northampton based School Alliance. Our research work concentrates on leadership of school improvement, particularly the work of secondary middle leaders, the leadership of teacher inquiry practice, governance, and the development of leaders.

On 26 April 2016 members of the Leadership Special Interest Group from BERA debated how to research critical conversations in leadership. The event was held in memory of Anne Halsall who lectured in educational leadership at the University of Aberdeen until 2015. Dr Val Poultney presented a session on ‘Conceptualising reciprocal leadership competencies in school-university partnerships’.

Dr Val Poultney is aiming to increase the number of primary schools engaging with research across Derby and Derbyshire schools. Allenton Community Primary School have worked in partnership with Val to embed teacher inquiry (evidence-based teaching) into their curriculum. This is helping to empower teachers to research their own practice and begin to share more widely the outcomes of their research in and out of school. We have seen a number of projects that have had some significant impact on raising standards and that have also been adopted across the school from Foundation stage to Year 6. The Headteacher, Mr. Jon Fordham, has presented with Dr Val Poultney the findings of a year’s pilot research at the Teacher Education Advancement Network conference (TEAN, 2015).

As a follow-up to the conference, research into teacher inquiry was published entitled ‘The self-improving primary school’: understanding and approaching teacher inquiry: a pilot study.

This work is helping to inform our understanding of how we can support researching schools and improve our school-university partnerships as part of our Initial Teaching Education provision. If you would like to know more about research in your school then contact Dr Val Poultney: or 01332 591416.




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