Dr Joan Woodhouse

Associate Professor of Education

School/Department: Education, School of



I was a schoolteacher and leader for 20 years. I then took up a post as Senior Lecturer in Secondary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University where I was responsible for the dual certification programme PGCE (mfl) with Maîtrise FLE (Français Langue Etrangère) offered via a partnership arrangement with Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale. I was subsequently appointed Postgraduate Training Co-ordinator at UoL responsible for the provision of research skills training for doctoral students university-wide. I am now Associate Professor of Education and Co-director of Research and Enterprise in the School of Education. I am a member of the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society where I have fulfilled a number of key roles including that of co-editor of the journal Management in Education. I am also a member of the British Educational Research Association the Society for Research in Higher Education and the British Psychological Society. I was recently awarded a University Distinguished Teaching Fellowship for my leadership and success in devising inclusive equitable student-centred pedagogies and contributions to pedagogic research in HE.


I have a keen research interest in teachers’ lives and careers. I have researched the experiences of women teachers and headteachers older teachers and novice teachers. I have a particular interest in the factors affecting women teachers’ careers especially motherhood. In addition my extensive work with doctoral students has led me to develop a research interest in developing students’ critical writing skills. My current work includes: Student teacher mothers' perceptions and experiences of combining PGCE and motherhood: This project has involved interviews with student teachers who are mothers to ascertain their perspectives on the challenges of combining initial teacher education (ITE) and motherhood. Twenty women have been interviewed over the last two years (2020-21) allowing for some comparison to be made in women's experiences pre- and during Covid-19. The aim is to consider the insights gained so that recommendations might be offered concerning how ITE providers can better support this 'invisible' group of students. 



Woodhouse, J., Guihen, L. & Scalise, M. (forthcoming) I've just got to get through it! Student teacher-mothers negotiating the challenges of the Initial Teacher Education year.  Teacher Education Advancement Network Journal

Woodhouse, J. & Guihen, L. (forthcoming) 'Maybe they expect you to be the same as people with no kids?'  The challenges and support needs of student teacher mothers.  In Showunmi, V., Moorosi, P. Shakeshaft, C. & Oplatka, I. (eds) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Gender and Educational Leadership and Management. London: Bloomsbury.

Woodhouse, J. & Wood, P. (2020) Creating dialogic spaces: developing doctoral students' critical writing skills through peer assessment, Studies in Higher Education, DOI:10.1080/03075079.2020.1779686

Woodhouse, J. & Pedder, D. (2017) Early career teachers perceptions and experiences of leadership development: balancing structure and agency in contrasting school contexts, Research Papers in Education, 32:5, 553-577  DOI:10.1080/02671522.2016.1225794

Wood, P. & Smith, J. (2016) Educational Research: taking the plunge Camarthen: Independent Thinking Press Limited

Smith, J. (2015) Motherhood and women teachers' career decisions: a constant battle in J. Harford & K. Fuller (eds) Gender and leadership: women achieving against the odds Oxford: Peter Lang

Smith, J. (2014) Gendered trends in student teachers professional aspirations Educational Management Administration and Leadership Online first DOI: 10.1177/1741143214543200

Smith, J.M. (2012) Reflections on using life history to investigate women teachers aspirations and career decisions, Qualitative Research, 12 (4): 486-503.

Smith, J.M. (2011)  Aspirations to and perceptions of secondary headship: contrasting women teachers and headteachers perspectives, Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 39 (5): 516-535.

Smith, J.M. (2011) Agency and female teachers career decisions: a life history study of forty women, Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 39 (1): 7-24

Smith, J.M. (2008) Maslow, motivation and female teachers career decisions, Psychology of Women Section Review, 10 (1): 22-30



I would be interested in supervising doctoral students whose proposed research focuses on for example: • Women’s careers in education • Students’ experiences of combining motherhood and study • Older teachers’ experiences of academisation • Life histories of headteachers • Teachers’ and educational leaders’ careers • The experiences of part-time workers in education 


In addition to supervising a number of doctoral students I teach and supervise students following the MA International Education (MAIE) programme and the MSc Educational Leadership programme. I am module convenor for the core Research Methods course and the dissertation module in the MAIE programme and for the Educational Leadership Learning and Change module on the MSc Educational Leadership programme.

Press and media

Women’s career experiences in education


Member of the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society the Society for Research in Higher Education the British Educational Research Association and the British Psychological Society.


Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy University Distinguished Teaching Fellow


"Woodhouse J. Mohamed C. Wood P. & Sorensen P. (July 2019) Reflecting on an era of reform: older teachers' insights on school sector re-structuring and teachers' work. BELMAS annual conference. Woodhouse J. & Guihen L. (June 2019) The invisible statistic: an investigation into student teacher mothers’ perceptions of their experiences during the PGCE year Women Leading Education Conference University of Nottingham Woodhouse J. & Wood P. (June 2018) Creating dialogic spaces: developing doctoral students’ critical writing skills through peer assessment’ LLI Discovering teaching excellence @ Leicester conference Woodhouse J. Mohamed C. Wood P. & Sorensen P. & Drari D. (September 2017) Reflecting on an era of reform: full career serving teachers' insights into the impact of constant reform on their working lives. British Educational Research Association Annual Conference Brighton."


"BSC (Hons) Human Communication (Aston) PGCE (Secondary French) (Birmingham) MBA Education Management (Leicester) PhD Education (Leeds)"
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