School of Education

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Kay Fuller

Professor of Gender and Educational Leadership, Faculty of Social Sciences



Kay joined the University of Nottingham in November 2014. Prior to that she was Lecturer in Education, and course leader of the secondary English PGDipEd at the University of Birmingham (2007-2014).

Before becoming a higher education teacher and researcher Kay worked for 15 years teaching in five mixed community comprehensive schools in three local authorities. She was a teacher of English, head of English and deputy headteacher during that time.

Kay is a member of a number of research-based networks. She has served as an elected member of BELMAS National Council. She is co-founder and convenor (with Drs Pontso Moorosi, Saeeda Shah, and Victoria Showunmi) of the BELMAS Gender and Leadership Research Interest Group. Kay is also a member of the international Women Leading Education across Continents network.

Kay sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Educational Administration and History and is Associate Editor for Frontiers in Education.

In addition to published papers and books Kay has shared her research with a range of bodies including local schools and events organised by the network WomenEd. Kay is a regional lead for the East Midlands. Kay has been interviewed by the Times Educational Supplement, the BBC and the Voice of Islam about her research into the distribution of women secondary school headteachers in England and leadership for social justice.

Teaching Summary

Kay contributes to the MA in Educational Leadership and Management programme. She is currently supervising a number of EdD and PhD research projects.

Research Summary

Kay is currently a Leverhulme Research Fellow (2022-23). Her project, Re-imagining Feminist Leadership Praxis in Higher Education, has generated data from academics across universities in the UK. She… read more

Recent Publications

Current research

Her current research focuses on women, gender and feminism in educational leadership. In particular, she is currently working on an intersectional feminist exploration of contemporary educational leadership with a new book due for publication in 2021. In the book, she draws together a number of research projects undertaken during the last five years to theorize about fourth wave feminism. She draws on feminist theories to think about leadership including intersectionality theory, Black British feminism and queer theory. She looks at gender and Islam, digital feminism, men's pro-feminism and femonationalism.

Having completed a critical auto-ethnography to re-narrate her life history and refresh her worldview, she has developed an intersectionality life grid designed to support the reflexivity of scholars and education professionals alike. Her work is underpinned by a commitment to working for social justice and takes an explicitly feminist stance. Even so, she recognises resistance to feminism in some contexts. She works with colleagues in schools and universities to support them in their work.

She is founding co-convener of the BELMAS Gender and Leadership Research Interest Group (committed to an intersectional perspective) and member of scholarly network Women Leading Education across Continents.

Past research

She has focused on the lived realities of women and men as educational leaders. This includes updating the distribution of women secondary school headteachers in England at five year intervals; exploring experiences of becoming and being headteachers; exploring the priorities in leadership as headteachers see them. In particular, her work has focused on the intersections of personal i.e. gender, 'race', social class, sexuality and professional identities and the resulting oppressions and privileges they afford.

Future research

She is currently developing research that focuses on intersectional discrimination in education and employment in education.


She has supervised doctoral research focusing on the intersections of gender and 'race' in women's leadership in higher education (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the UK), women's graduate student identities (the UK, Saudi Arabia), and research using Critical Race Theory in secondary schools and Black men's professional identities (UK).

Current Research

Kay is currently a Leverhulme Research Fellow (2022-23). Her project, Re-imagining Feminist Leadership Praxis in Higher Education, has generated data from academics across universities in the UK. She is working with postgraduate doctoral research assistants Asadullah Lashari and Fatma Poyraz Ciddi.

She recently completed a project with Jo Hancock and Kristina Pokasic for the University of Nottingham Women's Staff Network Women Working and Well in Research.

She also recently completed a poetic inquiry Gender Writes: Young people and leadership that enabled children and young people to learn about gender and school leadership courtesy of an ESRC Impact Acceleration Award (2022-23). Children contributed their poems to an anthology The teaching was based on her recent monograph Feminist perspectives on contemporary educational leadership (Routledge: 2022).

Past Research

Kay has also worked on a number of collaborative projects. One concerns research into women headteachers of Black and Global Majority heritage leading schools in South Africa, the United States and England (with Dr Pontso Moorosi and Dr Elizabeth Reilly). Another concerns women headteachers in Scotland, Jamaica, New Zealand and England (with Dr Dee Torrance, Dr Carmel Roofe and Dr Rachel MacNae).

Kay was PI on a BELMAS funded project Joining up Networks in Education for Women with Dr Joanne Cliffe and Vivienne Porritt.

Kay was also PI on the WomenEd research project with Dr Jill Berry #WomenEd: A movement for women leaders in education

School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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