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Alex Gardner-McTaggartAlex Gardner-McTaggart

Hello there!

Born in within sight of Epsom race course, I grew up in SW London, then Cornwall, then Austria, (then Cornwall again), BA in London and Berlin… my life began with many changes, different places, people, languages. Although still learning, I believe this allowed me to see the world in a way that cherishes diversity and individuality, but also togetherness.

My educational career was pockmarked by so much change… Put back a year, I did my GCSEs at sixth form in one year in the ‘re-sitters’ class. I managed the impossible and failed drama A level in 1991, and went to University through clearing. With my son now in his second year at Uni, I am reminded of the ‘blues’ I experienced (the many mostly financial challenges) and my doubts in academia. In my final year at QMW college London, I discovered myself as an academic in my tutorials on Kafka and Rilke. With no means, I then worked as an EFL teacher until I could afford my M.Ed at the OU in 2005. Later as HOD at the International school of Azerbaijan, (and father of four), I successfully completed my PhD over 5.5 years in Educational Leadership at (Nott) (obvs. distance) – seeing my supervisor once a year in person.

I worked for Her Majesty at RMA Sandhurst as leadership SL where my thesis work on Bourdieu and international Ed Leadership was ‘spotted’ at BELMAS 2018 in Windsor. In 2019 I joined the Univ. of Manchester as PD for a Masters in Educational Leadership tasked with its build, writing, staffing and recruitment. I am now the University’s Academic Lead for Transnational Education. Failing drama A level was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Why vote for me?

My experience of education spans nearly 30 years as a practitioner and as such I have taught and administered/coordinated/researched in primary, secondary, higher, and further education in England and all over the world. The way I see BELMAS is with education as the core factor driving what we do, as we strive to provide valid knowledge and thinking to improve the world of education through its management, administration and leadership. So, my first ‘skill’, is a focus in my work that privileges education, its philosophy, its stakeholders and its charges. I write this conscious that my work will never seek to elevate the externalised world of business above the need for us to support and nurture education.

As associate editor of EMAL, I am already involved in many of the debates and issues that BELMAS is associated with, and so a second part of my contribution may be the synergy between positions, informing both, and providing depth and particular insight to the role of trustee as assoc. editor, but also the other way around.

A third aspect is my fondness of people more generally. I enjoy the organisation of people, in all its forms, and delight in bringing people together. This is also what BELMAS is, a place for people to discover and be discovered, not just as specialists in our field, but also as the extraordinary individuals they are. The true wealth of our society is its people, and I am dedicated to maintaining a culture of inclusivity, acting at all times to help our members grow, connect, and disseminate.

As RIG convenor for International and Comparative educational leadership at BELMAS, I always have an eye (and a soft spot) our internationals. Through my work at the University of Manchester as Academic Lead for transnational education, I am particularly attuned to the global sphere, shocked by the inordinate difficulties many face in contributing to a learned society (Economical, Political, Familial, etc.) and I consistently seek ways to mitigate these issues, lowering the pronounced barriers for many internationals – barriers that are invisible to many in the UK.

Overall, I am keen to intensify my work at BELMAS, and I believe my trajectory and career demonstrate my own willingness to work for good, in service and leadership.