Dr Lorna Cork


School/Department: Education, School of



I started my formal career in education as a secondary school English teacher in an inner London school. Promotions to Head of Department and senior leadership roles ensued. I have combined these roles with community-oriented work including supplementary schools and voluntary organisations. This sparked my interest in pursuing an MA with a strong equity focus and a PhD.

Against the statistical odds for a state educated woman I attained a PhD in Education from the University of Cambridge and an ESRC studentship. I was the Vice Chair of the University of Cambridge Caribbean Students’ Association and combined doctoral studies with working for the Local Authority advisory service alongside which I created an award-winning Black parents/students project.

From Cambridge I spent the next 10 years with a large Local Authority advising supporting and challenging school- leaders as a School Improvement adviser then Senior Adviser. In my decade with the LA I was recognised for combining generic School Improvement with a deep commitment to inclusive equity-based approaches to education. This experience adds great value to my roles in the School of Education. 


With lead applicant Associate Professor Joan Woodhouse I was successful in the award of a Centenary scholarly. This should support the research pipeline for future scholars in the School of Education through award of a PhD student. With a focus on the experience of women on fractional contracts in HE It also had the potential to influence policy on gender equity.



I recently accepted the invitation to ‘Still Breathing: 100 Black Voices on Racism - 100 Ways to Change the Narrative’(June 2021). Prior to this I contributed as senior researcher to a research publication on school leadership programmes (2017) My most influential publication and the one she is most proud of is ‘Supporting Black Pupils and Parents’ published by Routledge (2005) which has recently been called ‘before its time and even more relevant now.’



Leadership; Race Equality; Gender Equality and pupils and parents perspectives are areas of special interest for the supervision of PhD students


I currently teach on the following programmes:

MSc Educational Leadership (Module convenor EIEL);

MA International Education; iPGCE 

Press and media

Leadership; Race Equality


I am a Senior Fellow of the HEA (2017)- I was awarded an MBE for Services to Education (2012) for exceptional contributions including the Yes We Will and Yes Women Will leadership programmes.
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