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Personal profile


James Underwood is a Principal Lecturer and is the ‘Subject Leader for Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development’. This means that he has oversight of all the masters’ courses in education at the University of Northampton as well as a range of other shorter courses at masters’ level. He leads and teaches on the MA Education and the MA Education Leadership and Management.

James taught for 19 years before becoming a lecturer here at the University of Northampton. The majority of this time was in the British state sector, in secondary schools. He was the vice-principal of a state secondary school (students aged 11-18) and subsequently of a private sixth form college (students aged 16-18). He completed his doctorate in education at the Faculty of Eduation, at the University of Cambridge. He also worked at the University of Cambridge as an associate lecturer, whilst still teaching in schools.

The title of James’ doctorate is: ‘Building communities and sharing knowledge: a study into teachers working together across national boundaries’. 

Research Interests

His research interests include: the nature of professional communities, non-positional leadership, methodologies for teacher research, and teaching approaches in higher education among others.


Abbie Deeming; Education, Children and Young People

Mental Health, Schools and Decision Making.

Teaching Interests

Programme lead: PG Cert Top-Up, MA Education, MA Education Leadership and Management

Modules that James Underwood leads on

  • EDUM074 –  International perspectives on education
  • EDUM079 – Thesis
  • EDUM089 – Principles and Practice in Action Research
  • EDUM092 – Investigating Professional Practice (1)
  • EDUM111 – Investigating Professional Practice (2)
  • EDUM118 – Leading Change
  • EDUM122 – Educational Leadership
  • EDUM123 – Perspectives on Leadership
  • EDUM124 – Approaches to Leadership
  • ITTM001 – PGCE top-up
  • ITTM002 – PGCE top-up (2)

Other modules that James Underwood teaches on

  • EDUM116 – School and Classroom Cultures
  • EDUM077 – Research Methods
  • EDUM079 – Dissertation

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Cambridge

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Research Output

  • International Qualitative Research on Teacher Education: Benefits, Challenges, and Future Directions

    Underwood, J., Kowalczuk-Walędziak, M. & Barrow, J., 20 Aug 2020, In : Culture and Education. 2, 128, p. 156-173 18 p., 128.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

  • Open Access
  • Building communities among teachers the experiences of teachers from Macedonia of engagement in extended communities.

    Underwood, J. & Joshevska, M., 7 Aug 2019, Quality of Education: Global Development Goals and Local Strategies. Orlović Lovren, V., Peeters, J. & Matović, N. (eds.). Belgrade, Serbia: Institute of Pedagogy and Androgyny, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, p. 153-168 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter

    Open Access
  • Conceptualising teachers’ knowledge when crossing national boundaries

    Underwood, J. & Truong, T., 27 Feb 2019, In : Polish Journal of Education Studies. 72, 1, p. 145-161 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

    Open Access
  • Meaningful Time for Professional Growth or a Waste of Time? A Study in Five Countries on Teachers’ Experiences within Master’s Dissertation/Thesis Work

    Kowalczuk-Walędziak, M., Lopez, A., Underwood, J., Daniela, L. & Clipa, O., 21 Aug 2019, In : Teaching Education. p. 1-21 21 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

    Open Access
  • What is it like to have a mentorship 10,000 miles apart? A think piece working paper.

    Underwood, J. & Balfour, B., 15 Mar 2019, Leeds, UK: Leeds Beckett University, p. 52-55, 3 p. (CollectivED).

    Research output: Working Paper

    Open Access
  • Activities

    • 3 Oral presentation
    • 2 Invited talk
    • 2 Workshop

    Teachers' experiences of collaborating internationally: from the "wow" effect to making a difference to students and schools.

    James Underwood (Speaker)

    16 Aug 2019

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


    Individual, local, global: finding our voice and place as researchers, now and into the future

    James Underwood (Speaker)

    30 May 2019

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsInvited talkResearch


    Telling the stories of others

    James Underwood (Speaker) & Bethany Page (Speaker)

    24 May 2018

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsWorkshopResearch

    Conceptualising Professional Communities Among Teachers A proposed conceptual framework based on a structured review of literature

    James Underwood (Speaker)

    30 Jun 2018

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch

    Exchanging Knowledge and Building Communities via International Networking (2017, developed version)

    James Underwood (Speaker)

    24 Aug 2017

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch