Dr Daphne Whiteoak
Senior Lecturer in Education
School of Social Sciences

Senior Lecturer in Education


Daphne contributes to the undergraduate Early Childhood Studies programme. Her teaching interests include the influence of politics on educational provision and leadership and management in primary and early years settings and in the interface between policy, theory and practice.

Prior to working at BGU Daphne was a primary school headteacher. Interested in governance, law and human resources as they pertain to the roles of educational leaders her voluntary activities over the years have included: Branch Secretary of the National Association of Headteachers (Cambridgeshire), Headteacher representative on the Joint Council Negotiating Committee (Cambridgeshire Local Authority) and Chair of Governors of a Lincoln infant and nursery school. She currently serves on the Diocesan Board of Education for the Diocese of Lincoln and as a Trustee on the Leeke Educational Trust.


Daphne’s research background is in educational leadership and management. Passionate about faith schools, strategic leadership and identity and how vision and beliefs are interpreted individually and collectively within educational and social contexts these interests have influenced career, voluntary activities and research interests. Prior to working in academia and undertaking her PhD she researched routes of aspirant deputy headteachers into headship (MSc, Leeds Metropolitan University), subject leadership and NQTs and used her research to support newly appointed headteachers and governing bodies in developing their strategic skills.

Daphne received her Phd from the University of Nottingham (2014) for an extensive national mixed methods study of headteacher retention from Anglican primary schools in England (N=243) which utilised the conceptual framework of Wenger’s Community of Practice (‘Up close and personal: An investigation of headteacher departure from Anglican primary schools in England’).

For her PhD thesis Daphne was subsequently awarded the Best Thesis Prize from the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) for the most important contribution to our understanding of educational leadership (July, 2014).

Publications and conference papers

Whiteoak, D. (2014) ‘Up close and personal’: An investigation of headteacher departure from Anglican primary schools in England’. Conference presentation at British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society Annual Conference (BELMAS), Stratford upon Avon, July 2014 (by invitation as a result of Award of Best Thesis Prize for Phd Thesis, 2014).

Whiteoak, D. (2009) ‘The past influencing the present and future?’. Conference paper presented at British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference, Manchester, September 2009.

Whiteoak, D. (2009) ‘Why headteachers leave – a review of the literature’. Conference paper presented at British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) Annual Conference, Sheffield, July 2009.

Hinsliff-Smith, K., Keane, J., Whiteoak, D., and Hawker, I. (2009) ‘How to win friends and influence people: the value of the cohort in a doctoral research training programme’. The Nottingham Jubilee Press, Nottingham, ISBN 978-1-906235-05-5.

Whiteoak, D. (2008) ‘Finding headteachers: Challenges and Compromises’. Conference paper presented at ‘Weaving the Threads of Educational Research’ University of Nottingham School of Education Postgraduate Conference, Nottingham, November 2008.