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Karen HealeyKaren Healey

I am currently an early career researcher undertaking a PhD at Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester. My research is investigating the role of parents for the governance of Multi- Academy Trusts. My research interests, the dynamics of power and democratic agency, are driven by my experience over the last thirty years as a teacher, senior leader and in external roles supporting school leaders and governors. I have had the privilege to work and learn with and from those involved in education whether professionally or as community members. The generosity of others to my experiences is something I want to reciprocate.

I am an active member of the Critical Education Leadership and Policy (CELP) Research Group at University of Manchester and a collaborative project led by University of Bath exploring ‘What Doors Do?” This year I organised the CELP Conference and MIE’s Undergraduate Research Conference. Recently I joined the BELMAS Blog editorial team.
Currently I support the Masters: Educational Leadership at University of Manchester; and International Education. I supervise teachers undertaking the Masters: Leading in Learning.
I published my first article “Engaging parents in multi academy trusts as local civic knowledge experts” in MIE and first Blog with BELMAS.

Why vote for me?

Currently I am a PhD researcher researching the role of parents for the governance of schools. As a PhD researcher BELMAS has provided a space for me to engage in the conversations in the field through its journals, blog, annual conference, and research group opportunities. Members have offered a supportive space in which to develop my thinking and build networks of support and challenge.

Previously I worked in schools as a senior leader or in roles supporting those in leadership and governance. I have been both accountable to those responsible for governance and supported governance strategy in school settings and across schools. I have been privileged to be a trustee with a school trust and a board member for the Co-operative Schools Board. As a senior leader BELMAS provided the opportunity to engage with wider conversations in the field than I would have met traditionally in professional training.

However, primarily, I offer the BELMAS Council a ‘representative’ perspective of that wider community of postgraduate learners and researchers. It must be acknowledged this is a diverse community including full and part-time students; postgraduate research and taught students; students in practice and international students.

I am someone currently on an early career researcher (ECR) trajectory within the field of educational leadership. The BELMAS Council represents the field of educational leadership from a range of research backgrounds and contexts including some with practice-based experience. However, the BELMAS Council currently has a gap in relation to the perspective of ECRs including those involved in postgraduate research.

BELMAS could offer diverse spaces for postgraduate, early career, experienced researchers and those in practice to engage with and learn from and with other members. My experiences as a PhD student offers a perspective to the Council that can support BELMAS further developing as a learned society that is both representative of, but responsive to the field’s community and a developing membership profile.

I have had experience of delivering the functions of governance as a trustee and board member. Listening is key as is asking questions, when seeking to understand, ensuring that the organisation’s objective is kept at the heart of what we do.

The value of democratic agency underpins my stance recognising that membership engagement is the heart of a learned society establishing the necessity of a space for dialogue. My wider experiences in governance means I can offer experience of operationalising the functions of governance, but it is my experiences of working collaboratively that have led to my commitment to ensuring that spaces are created for members to heard and recognise that ultimate accountability is to these members. These values have driven my research interest and recently I have had a Blog and article published through BELMAS that begins to explore knowledge production in governance and relationships with communities in school governance.

Simply, this role offers me the opportunity to contribute from the perspective of an ECR, to BELMAS in recognition of benefits I have gained from its community.