Dr Maxine Watkins

Dr Maxine Watkins

School of Social Policy
Research Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Maxine Watkins is a qualitative researcher who joined CHASM in July 2021. She is currently working with the Centre for Care on a project that explores the decisions that family (unpaid) carers make in relation to caring responsibilities and employment, to understand the short and longer term impacts on their financial wellbeing.


  • PhD in Education (Retaining Primary Teachers: Sustaining a positive professional identity and a commitment to teaching in early, mid and late career phase), University of Worcester, 2019
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods, University of Worcester, 2016
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology, University of Worcester, 2014


Maxine has an interest in human development and behaviour across a life span. Her Phd research was a qualitative exploration of the dynamic nature of teachers’ professional identity. A grounded theory approach empowered the voices of primary school teachers in understanding positive and negative influences on their professional identity across different life and career stages. Her work brought together current literature within Education and Social Psychology to develop a theoretical model of teacher career, considering the development of individual, relational and collective identities and associations with career decisions and commitment to the profession. Maxine has also worked collaboratively on projects concerned with the development and maintenance of relationships in school communities, and the influence of those relationships on resilience, wellbeing and teacher retention. 

Between October 2018 – July 2021 Maxine was a Lecturer in Psychology within the School of Psychology, University of Worcester.

With a growing curiosity about associations between life stages, identity, and decision making, Maxine is currently working on a qualitative project that seeks to understand the decisions that family (unpaid) carers make in relation to employment and caring responsibilities  and the impacts on their financial wellbeing across a life course.


Development of a decision support tool for older people who pay for social care, and their families.

The Costs of Caring: Gender, Care and Personal Finance

Other activities

Member of British Educational Research Association (BERA)

Graduate member of British Psychological Society (BPS)

Associate Fellowship of Higher Education Academy (HEA)


Correia, D., & Watkins, M. (2023). Exploring experiences of proculturation in international students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Culture & Psychology, 1354067X231156591.

Spicksley, K., Kington, A., & Watkins, M. (2021). “We Will Appreciate Each Other More After This”: Teachers' Construction of Collective and Personal Identities During Lockdown. Frontiers in Psychology, 3614.

Spicksley, K. & Watkins, M. (2020). Early-Career Teacher Relationships with Peers and Mentors: Exploring Policy and Practice. In A. Kington and K. Blackmore (Eds.) Social and Learning Relationships in Primary Schools (pp. 93-116). London: Bloomsbury 

Watkins, M. (2019). Retaining Primary Teachers: Sustaining a positive professional identity and a commitment to teaching in early-, mid- and late-career phase (doctoral thesis). University of Worcester, United Kingdom

Watkins, M. (2018) Learning from mistakes? The influence of school culture on ‘error-related’ development opportunities, professional identity, and commitment to teaching. Presented at BERA Annual Conference, Newcastle, 11 - 13 September 2018