Judith Bruce-Golding

Doctoral Researcher 

Judith Bruce-GoldingCurrent Status

Writing up, part-time

Research Topic

Career trajectories of deputy and assistant headteachers and their perceptions of secondary headship

Research Summary

Developments in education policy over the last 30 years have led to significant changes in the Headship role and school leadership in England.  Although there is now a considerable body of research about Headship, the careers and experiences of Deputy and Assistant Headship in England remains under researched.  This thesis examines the career trajectories of 14 Deputy and Assistant Headteachers and their perceptions of Headship in secondary schools in Birmingham, England.  A two-phase, mixed method study (survey and semi-structured life history interviews) was employed as part of an explanatory sequential design (Creswell, 2014).  This research builds upon previous work in life history studies notably Ribbins, (1997; 2003), Gronn (1999), Oplatka and Tamir (2009) and Smith (2011) along with career phases and anchors research forwarded by Schein (1971; 1978; 1996).  A framework has been developed which draws on Putnam’s (2000) distinction be-tween bonding and bridging social capital. The findings from this study add new insights to the senior leadership role and the perception of Headship and tentative-ly suggests that Deputy and Assistant Headteachers lean towards displaying main-ly Bonder, Bridger or Leaver characteristics that contribute to the critical decisions made in their career journeys.

Research Interests

  • Senior Leadership in Secondary Schools
  • Career Trajectories
  • Career Stages and Phases
  • Career Anchors
  • Urban Studies
  • Special Educational Needs

Research Supervisors

Professor Peter Davies

Dr Tom Bisschoff



Membership of Research and Professional Organisations

The British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS)

Nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs)


Additional Information

Judith works with children with special educational needs and children that have been excluded from school.  She has completed the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) and she is currently on the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership  (NPSQL) programme.

Contact details

Email: JMB926@bham.ac.uk