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Dr Penny Smith

Job Title
Associate Lecturer
Centre for Education Studies
024 7615 1364
Research Interests

I have recently been involved in research on new types of schools (academies, free schools) and their leadership and governance. My PhD also focused on school governance, exploring democratic participation and the lay/professional dynamic in education. I have however taken part in a wide variety of projects including large scale interdisciplinary research with colleagues from Social Policy and Health (National Evaluation of the Children's Fund for example) as well as a variety of smaller projects where I led the research process: e.g. an action research project focusing upon the experience of library use by adults with Learning Disabilities and research on teacher's use of research in their practice. Whilst much of my experience has been in qualitative research (including the use of discourse analysis and NViIVO), I have also used quantitative methods and analysis, including Excel and SPSS


I have been working in academic research since 2001, initially at the University of Birmingham and from 2011 at Warwick. My research draws upon my Sociology and Social Policy background which has been applied to projects ranging from evaluations (of the Children's Fund 2003-4); research on children with epilepsy and the application of education research by practitioners. I completed a PhD in 2010 which focused on the relationship between chairs of governors and headteachers: the lay/professional relationship, bringing together the theories of Bourdieu, Foucault and Bernstein. This can be found at:

Title Funder Award start Award end
Governance and accountability arrangements: new types of schooling British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) 01 Sep 2012 31 Jul 2013