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Institute of Education

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Q&A with David Godfrey

Dr David Godfrey is an Associate Professor based at the Centre for Educational Leadership.

What do you most enjoy about your position and why?
I love the intellectual stimulation of working in my field and also the ability to engage with school leaders and teachers.

What is the focus of your research and what benefits do you hope your discoveries or insights will bring?
My work is largely concerned with bridging the gap between academia and practice for the improvement of schools and the education system. I work with school leaders and sometimes networks of schools, providing models of collaboration so that educators can incorporate research into their practices.

I hope that my discoveries will lead to a better education system that empowers staff who work in schools and the children that attend them to face the challenges of the years ahead. 

What's the most important thing you've learned from your students?
The Educational Leadership MA is a real journey of discovery and I’ve heard that this has helped former students to shape their thinking as leaders and in their careers.

It’s good to know that an academically focused degree has such concrete outcomes."

What attracted you to take up your position at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)?
The IOE has the most vibrant intellectual and international community. I did my PhD at the IOE, staring in 2011. I started as a member of staff in 2015 - it is simply the best place to work if you are an academic working in the educational field.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
Perhaps my work on school peer review in both England and in Chile. As well as being theoretically interesting, the peer review model I created has led to tangible improvements in the schools we have worked with.

This and more is mentioned in my latest edited book: Godfrey D. (eds) School Peer Review for Educational Improvement and Accountability. Accountability and Educational Improvement. Springer, Cham.

What other subjects outside of your area of specialism interest you?
I’m currently very interested in economics – particularly the ideas about ‘de-growth’. I also read work on environmental issues and ecosystems.

How do you think being at UCL benefits your work? 
Working at UCL gives you prestige internationally and so many academics and professionals want to link up and work on interesting projects that it makes the environment very stimulating and open to possibilities for your work to have impact.

What would it surprise people to know about you?
I spent some time living in Spain and then in Colombia. Speaking fluent Spanish has made working in places like Chile, Argentina and Colombia possible.