Staff profile

Dr Val Poultney

Senior Lecturer


Education, Childhood and SEND


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education

Research centre

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I currently work at the University of Derby within the Institute of Education. I am a Senior Lecturer in Education having previously been a secondary school science teacher, Head of Department and Senior Leader in schools. I began working at the University of Derby in 2003.

Teaching responsibilities

I am a doctoral supervisor for PhD and EdD students and an external examiner for both these programmes. I also works on Initial Teacher Education programmes, mainly linked to the School Direct as a lecturer and university link tutor with trainees and their mentors in science.

Professional interests

My interests are in a range of school improvement areas linked to school leadership and governance, evidence-based teaching and the development of professional doctorates particularly related to the Doctor of Education (EdD). 

Research interests

My research is focused on school improvement issues related to school leadership, governance and the development of learning communities. Recent research has focused on reciprocal relationships in partnerships between HEIs and schools, governance, especially of independent schools and ways of encouraging teachers to work as researchers in their own professional practice.

I head up the Teacher Education Research Group at the Institute of Education to showcase research linked with teacher education and training. This group recently contributed to the Institute's Research and Scholarship Forum with a seminar entitled: School-University Partnerships: opportunities and challenges in an ever-changing landscape (October 9th 2019).

I am currently undertakng some research for the charity 'Destination Imagination' around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) subject engagement with primary school children. Currently I am working with 17 Derby Schools who are taking part in the project. 

I am series editor for Critical Publishing's 'Evidence-based Teaching' series online.

Membership of professional bodies

I am aligned to a number of professional bodies including:

  • British Educational Research Association (BERA): Special Interest Groups - Leadership and Management in Education, Practitioner Research
  • British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS): Special Interest Groups: Governance, Leadership Development, Doctoral Research
  • Professional Doctorates Network
  • International Association of Professional and Practice-based Doctorates (UKCGE and University of Middlesex)
  • FHEA Senior Teaching Fellow May 2013
  • Governor and Chair of Education sub-committee


I have a Masters and Doctoral qualification from the University of Nottingham and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Birmingham. I am also a qualified teacher (Certificate of Education) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Recent conferences

Derby Research School ‘ A Case of Learning Rounds’. Derby Moor School, July 7 2018.

BERA Ethics of Educational Leadership. Presentation entitled The Ethics of researching sociocratic relationships: using the Consciousness Quotient inventory as a pilot methodology to explore a school-university partnership’. The Open University, March 26, 2018.

Teacher Education Advancement Network (TEAN) March 6th 2018 ‘Let’s Talk about Evidence-based Practice’ Keynote Speech. ‘Maths Mastery: The key to professional and pedagogical liberation? Teacher Education Advancement Network (TEAN). University of Aston May 2017.

‘Mapping the Landscape in practitioner research’ BERA symposium, University of Leeds, September 2016.

The self-improving school: how professional learning leadership supports teacher inquiry’, British Educational Research Association, September 2015.

‘I see inquiry as a normal part of my professional practice: A critical examination of practitioners’ experiences from one Midlands Teaching School Alliance’ (with A. Fox, University of Leicester), British Educational Research Association, September 2015.

‘Whoa, this is massive, this is huge’: leading the inquiry-focused school primary school. Teacher Education Advancement Network (TEAN). University of Aston. May 2015 and Teaching and Learning Conference, University of Derby (Buxton), July 2015.

‘Joint Supervision: A model for Successful Doctoral Programmes’, International Conference for Professional Doctorates, Cardiff, 9-11 April (2014).

‘Developing and sustaining effective doctoral programme leadership: building a doctoral learning culture’, International Conference for Professional Doctorates, Florence, Italy (April 2012).

Experience in industry

Since graduating in 1979 I have taught in a range of secondary schools, both state and independent. I began my career in a state comprehensive school and moved into the independent sector in 1988 where I was Head of Science until 1998. I then took up a senior role in a Coventry school in challenging circumstances as a senior leader before moving into HE in 2003.

International experience

As part of the international Doctor of Education programme, I have worked abroad in a 'flying faculty' context for many years, delivering the programme in Cyprus and Tel Aviv Israel. I have taught and supervised international students on this programme since 2003. I have presented papers at international conferences such as Florence, Italy and Switzerland.

Recent publications

Poultney, V. and Anderson, D. (2019) Leading change for survival: the rural flexi-school approach. Management in Education, 1-7

Poultney, V. (2019) Different schools, same problem: what value teacher research and inquiry? BERA blog.

Poultney, V. (2018) Jetting off on another flying faculty visit: what have we learned? BERA blog.

Poultney, V. and Philpott, C. (2018) Evidence-based teaching for enquiring teachers. St Albans: Critical Publishing.

Poultney, V. (2018) ‘Researching sociocratic relationships: using the Consciousness Quotient inventory as a pilot methodology to explore a school-university partnership’. Management in Education Special Edition. DOI: 10.1177/0892020617734820: 1-7: Sage.

Poultney, V. (2017) ‘Leading the flying faculty: reflections of one EdD programme leader on the opportunities and challenges for academics when teaching international EdD candidates’. Management in Education Special Edition: Sage.

Poultney, V. (2016) Beyond the school gates: reciprocal academic leadership. BERA blog 15 March 2016. Online:

Poultney, V., (Ed), Fordham, J., Poultney, H., Richardson, A., Trowsdale, J. and White, J. (2017) Evidence-based Teaching in the Primary School.  St Albans: Critical Publishing.

Poultney, V. (2016) ‘The self-improving primary school’:  understanding and approaching teacher inquiry: a pilot study’. Teacher Education Advancement Network, University of Cumbria. Vol. 8(1) 83-93. Available at:

Tarpey, C. and Poultney, V. (2015) ‘Maximising Leadership Capacity and School Improvement through Re-alignment of Children’s’ Services’ Management in Education Special Edition, Sage.

Poultney. V. (2013) ‘Governing for the Future: Researching and Reflecting on Independent School Practice’ Management in Education Special Edition, Sage.