School of Education

  • Policy, Partnerships and Leadership

    Research group co-leads: Mark Gibson and Gosia Sky


    Our group focuses on the concepts of educational policy, partnerships and leadership and their practical implementations in educational institutions in a range of contexts. It brings together colleagues researching various sectors of education, including: HE, FE, secondary, primary, international, complementary, life-long learning, state, private etc. We aim to provide space within which knowledge, experiences, research findings, examples of good practice and new ideas are shared, and collaboration and opportunities are explored.

    We are interested in working practices within institutions, the ways leadership and partnerships can influence policy and practice (and vice versa), and the processes involved in the construction and development of these. We investigate the resulting aspects of change, how it is managed in light of internal and external factors, and the impacts of this for those involved.

    Areas of interest

    • Social, cultural, linguistic and political aspects of educational policies
    • Policy vs. practice in various sectors of education
    • Educational planning and governance at local, national and international levels
    • Educational partnerships within and across educational sectors, as well as with private organisations and companies
    • Leadership in education and its challenges
    • Student and staff perceptions of leadership in different faculties
    • Leadership in international schools
    • Leadership in complementary schools


    • School leadership in challenging times (2019-present)
      Researchers: Linet Arthur and Deborah McGregor

    • Teacher retention in challenging schools (2018-present)
      Researcher: Linet Arthur
      The project examines why teachers stay working in challenging schools and is funded by the BA / Leverhulme Small Grants Award.

    • Leadership of international schools (2018-present)
      Researchers: Mark Gibson and Lucy Bailey (University of Bahrain)
      The project looks at the work of principals, parents and owners of international schools in Malaysia.
      Output: one paper in EMAL, one under review.

    • Middle and Senior Leaders in Bangladesh Colleges (2018-present)
      Researcher: Mark Gibson
      This project explores the challenges facing leaders in Bangladesh Colleges.
      Output: one paper in JHEPM.

    • Post Leadership Project (2016-present)
      Researchers: Mark Gibson and Sue Simon (University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia)
      An exploration of the self-identity reconfiguration of school leaders following loss of post.
      Output: One paper in EMAL and one in IJEM.

    • Leadership in complementary schools (2016-2018)
      Researchers: Linet Arthur and Ana Souza
      The project (funded by the BELMAS Small Award) focuses on leadership styles and professional development in extra provision expatriate communities to support language and cultural learning, specifically Brazilian complementary schools in the UK.
      Outcomes: an article in MiE (a special edition edited by Linet Arthur, Ana Souza and Anthony Thorpe) - currently under review - and training materials for school leadership in complementary schools (also translated into Portuguese).


    Souza, A. & Arthur, L. (forthcoming). CPD in complementary schools. Management in Education.

    Gibson, M.T. (2020). Student intimidation, no pay and hunger strikes: the challenges facing Heads of Department in Bangladesh Colleges. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management (published online 10/03/2020).

    Gibson, M.T. & Simon, S. (2020). Losing your Head: Are principals attached to their school? Educational Management Administration and Leadership 48 (1), 25-44.

    Bailey, L. & Gibson, M.T. (2019). International school principals: Routes to headship and key challenges of their roles. Educational Management Administration and Leadership (published online 29/10/2019).

    Simon, S. & Gibson, M.T. (2019) Principal resilience and vitality in extremis: the scenario of involuntary occupational dissolution. International Journal of Educational Management 33 (4), 709-720.

    McGregor, D. & Frodsham, S. (2019). Epistemic insights: Contemplating tensions between policy influences and creativity in school science. BERJ 45 (4), 770-790.

    Gibson, M.T. (2018). Leadership preparation and development within a multi academy trust: self-improving or self-serving? Management in Education 32 (2), 92-97.

    Basford, L., Butt, G. & Newton, R. (2017). To what extent are teaching assistants really managed?: ‘I was thrown in the deep end, really; I just had to more or less get on with it’. School Leadership and Management 37 (3), 288-310.

    Gibson, M.T. (2016). Sponsored academy school principals in England: Autonomous leaders or sponsor conduits? International Studies in Educational Administration 44 (2), 39-54.

    Gibson, M.T. (2015). Ethos and vision realization in sponsored academy schools. Management in Education 29 (1), 9-13.

  • Academic staff with related research interests

    Dr Linet Arthur

    Senior Lecturer: Leadership, Management and Policy
    Phone: +44 (0)1865 488533 | Email: | Location:

    Dr Roger Dalrymple

    Associate Dean: Student Outcomes
    Phone: 44 (0)1865 488737 | Email: | Location: Harcourt Hill Campus

    Dr Sarah Frodsham

    Senior Lecturer in Educational Research
    Phone: 01865 488623 | Email: | Location: Harcourt Hill

    Dr Mark T Gibson

    Senior Lecturer in Education
    Phone: 01865 4888359 | Email: | Location: B1/12

    Dr Marian McLachlan

    Senior Lecturer in Education
    Phone: +44 (0)1865 488514 | Email: | Location: Harcourt Hill Campus Office AG02

    Gosia Sky

    Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics
    Phone: +44 (0)1865 488360 | Email: | Location: Harcourt Hill - B1.14

    Mrs Kimberly Waring Paynter

    Senior Lecturer in Primary Education
    Phone: +44 (0)1865 488508 | Email: | Location: