Dr Steven Courtney

Senior Lecturer in Management and Leadership

Full contact details
View graph of relations


Dr Steve Courtney is a critical sociologist of educational leadership, researching and writing on areas including system leadership, charisma, depoliticisation and education privatisation, particularly in relation to leaders' identities and practices. He is currently Research Co-ordinator in the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE), Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Critical Studies in Education and convenor of the MIE research group, Critical Education Policy (CEP).

Dr Courtney spent the first part of his professional career teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) in Paris before moving into the secondary state sector as a French and Spanish teacher in inner-London comprehensives. Following almost a decade in leadership positions, first as Head of MFL and then Assistant Headteacher, he moved to Manchester to complete an MA in Educational Leadership and School Improvement.

Dr Courtney won ESRC funding for his doctoral work on school leadership in neoliberal times, for which he won best-thesis awards from the American Educational Research Association (Division A), the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS).

Dr Courtney took up a post in the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE) as Lecturer in Management and Leadership in 2014, becoming Senior Lecturer in 2018. Between 2016–20, he was Programme Director of the MA Educational Leadership. 


External positions

Elected Council Member, British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS)

18 Sep 202017 Sep 2023

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2015 - Doctor of Philosophy, Investigating school leadership at a time of system diversity, competition and flux., The University of Manchester (2011 - 2015)
  • 2011 - Master of Arts, Educational Leadership and School Improvement, The University of Manchester (2010 - 2011)
  • 1999 - PGCE Secondary in French and Spanish, University of Leeds (1998 - 1999)
  • 1996 - Cert. TESOL, Golders Green College School of English (1996)
  • 1996 - Bachelor of Arts, French Language and Literature Major with Spanish Minor, University of Leeds (1992 - 1996)

Related information


Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

View all (56)


Activity: External visiting positions or secondmentsVisiting an external academic institution

View all (41)

Media coverage and contribution

Press/Media: Blogs and social media

Press/Media: Blogs and social media

View all (10)


Prize: Other distinction

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

View all prizes (8)