The Professional Role of Practising Educators as Academic Staff Governors (ASGs) in the Governance of Birmingham's Educational Institutions

Aims, Objectives and Outcomes of Project

The project aims to make a significant contribution to understanding the role of practising educators (teachers, lecturers and professors) as academic staff governors (ASGs) and the value of their roles as governors at educational institutions in Birmingham. We will explore ASGs’ professional activities and how they contribute to the governance of their institutions.

Project Activity

The project team consists of:

  • Dr. Abdulla Sodiq (Principal Investigator) is a Lecturer in Education at BCU and researcher in educational governance.
  • Dr. Andy Allen (Research Consultant) is an experienced business and educational governance expert
  • Mrs. Bernadette Ratcliffe, (Research Consultant, BCU doctoral student in school governance) is an education consultant and a school governor in the West Midlands.

Project participants are governors at the following institutions in Birmingham:

  • 1 university
  • 1 FE college
  • 1 secondary school
  • 1 primary school

Project Dates: 7/12/ 2021 – 7/12/2024

Project meetings:

  • First research mentoring meeting took place on 2/9/2021 a few months before the project officially started.
  • Professors Matt O’Leary (BCU)
  • Professor Rob Smith (BCU)
  • Dr Abdulla Sodiq Project Lead
Co investigators
  • Dr Andy Allen
  • Mrs. Bernadette Reilly
Key points discussed:
  • Scope of the project
  • Project design
  • Methodology
  • Outputs
  • Immediate actions in time for project start.

Once the project started, several team meetings took place on 10/2/22, 3/3/2022, 19/4/2022, 28/4/2022, 12/7/22 and 23/8/22 to discuss project progress.

Project collaborators acting as advisory bodies are Advance-HE and National Governor Association. Project Lead has met the executives of the associations once already. We have discussed the planned collaborative, advisory research workshop to be organised at BCU once the data has been analysed.


The study centres on the ontological concepts of people’s understandings, thoughts and feelings as knowledge, which lie within mental faculties from a social science qualitative research perspective. The project uses combined methods study employing quantitative and qualitative techniques sequentially to aid exploration of ASGs in governance, with the quantitative techniques identifying trends in governors’ perspectives. In the data collection, we aimed to obtain perception-based responses to a semi-structured online questionnaire (in MS Forms) from board members of the 4 educational institutions. The second stage of data collection consists of semi-structured interviews with an ASG from each of the 4 institutions.

In the first 6 months of the 2-year project, the following methodological processes have been completed:

  • Obtaining BCU’s research ethics approval
  • Identifying the 4 institutions and obtaining participant’s consent
  • Designing and completing the interview and data collection stages

We are currently at the data analysis stage of the project.


The outcomes of the project are:

  • Development of a typology of the professional capital activated by ASGs in their roles as staff governors of their institutions.
  • Foregrounding of specific ways educational governance can offer value and offer potential CPD pathways for educators (teachers, lecturers and professors)
  • Identification of structural barriers and enhancers in the work of ASGs.

When data analysis has been completed, we will begin to develop the typology, highlighting the value in educational governance for educators’ CPD and identify the barriers and enhances for ASGs’ roles. We will conduct a full evaluation of the achievement of the outcomes at the end of the project.


The planned outputs for the project are:

  1. Publish 1 journal article
  2. Produce 2 conference papers (BCU’s C-SPACE and BELMAS Conference).
  3. Publish a series of short reflective research blog articles for publication on BELMAS’ and the project’s hub, E-EDGE) hosted in BCU’s CSPACE’s Practitioner Education Research Group (PERG) website.
  4. Run an advisory workshop as part of CSPACE’s PERG seminars attended by national experts in educational governance from collaborator organisations.

At this point in time, we have completed the first series of the E-EDGE blog articles and these are currently available on BCU’s C-SPACE website. These will be sent to BELMAS by the end of August 2022, for publication on the Governance-RIG website.

The conference papers are planned to be produced in the summer of 2023 and the journal article will be submitted to BELMAS’ management in Education Journal by the end of the project.