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Chris Rolph

Chris Rolph

Director - Nottingham Institute of Education

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Secondary and Continuing Education


Dr Rolph is the Director of Nottingham Institute of Education, one of the country's foremost providers of initial teacher training, and a recognised centre for the study of education. He has taught on range of courses including: joint honours in education; secondary initial teacher education; MA education. He continues to supervise a number of doctoral students. He is keen to develop new partnerships with institutions at home and abroad, and is firmly committed to a collaborative approach to education at all levels, in which developments in teaching and learning are based on robust research.

Career overview

After completing a PhD in astrophysics and a post-doctoral post, Dr Rolph began teaching in secondary schools. Over 10 years in the classroom he achieved accreditation as an Advanced Skills Teacher before becoming a secondary headteacher, leading 3 schools over the next 13 years. During this time he carried out funded research projects for the TDA and NCSL, and published papers with SSAT. He joined NTU in 2016.

Research areas

Dr Rolph’s research interests include education policy, school leadership, accountability and performativity, change management, curriculum design, and science education.


Rolph, C. (2023) Understanding Education Policy. London: Sage.

Rolph, C.D. (2022) What the autumn statement means for financially struggling schools. The Conversation 23 November 2022.

Vare, P., Oberholzer, L., Ahmad, M.S., Durham, H., James, J., Lee, H., Linse, C., Lofthouse, R., McGrath, S., Meehan, U., Ovenden-Hope, T.,  Price, L., Rolph, C.D., Sampson Chappell, L.,  Seymour, M., Smith, R., Sturrock, S., & Watson, K. (2022) Golden thread or gilded cage? An analysis of DfE support for the continuing professional development of teachers. UCET Position Paper. London: UCET.

Rolph, C.D. (2022) Schools in England are facing bankruptcy—here’s what the government could do to help. The Conversation 28 October 2022

Rolph, C.D. (2022) The cost of living crisis will hit schools hard. The Conversation 12 September 2022

Rolph, C.D. (2022) Post-pandemic: return or reset? BERA Blog 16 February 2022

Rolph, C.D. (2021) Using school-level data to investigate the impact of a one-to-one mathematics teaching resource in English primary schools. Education Sciences, 11 (11): 740. DOI

Rolph, C.D. (2019) Conservative parliamentary majority: what it could mean for schools. The Conversation:

Rolph, C.D. (2019) Grammar school expansion: ideology or evidence-based?  Public Sector Focus 20 68.

Rolph, C.D. (2018) Grammars receive £50m boost, while primary and secondary schools rely on cash donations from parents. The Conversation:

Rolph, C.D. (2018) Headteachers march: the school funding protests explained. The Conversation:

Rolph, C.D. (2017) English Education 5.0: a pictorial understanding of the future school system. World Educational Leadership Symposium, Zug 2017.

Rolph, C.D.(2017) GCSE Results 2017: A new grading system and a whole lot of confusion. The Conversation:

Rolph, C.D. (2017) The Matthew effect at election time. BERA Blog:

Rolph, C.D. (2017) Latest school league tables show where you live affects your child’s education.  The Conversation:

Rolph, C.D. (2016) What’s the difference? BERA Blog:

Rolph, C.D. (2008) Curriculum design case study. iNET/SSAT Curriculum Design: Disciplined Innovation in Practice, 71.

Rolph, C.D. (2006) The oxymoron of the learning organisation. Principal Matters 67 30.

Rolph, C.D. (2005) Educational leadership in 2025. iNET international conference Amsterdam, 2005.

Rolph, C.D. (2004) The paradoxes of distributed leadership in schools. Focus paper iNET online international conference, 2004.

Baxter, S., Bell, C., Green, T., Green, Y., Rolph, C., Webber-Jones, R., & Worrall, S. (2004) Engagement of Lincolnshire secondary schools with NCSL.  Nottingham: NCSL.

Rolph, C.D. (2004) Seven layers of leadership: a model for deep change. SSAT, Snapshots Primary 1 8.

Rolph, C.D. (2003) International CPD: TIPD Australia. CPD Journal May 2003.

Rolph, C.D. (2001) Recruitment and retention in the 21st century. Discussion paper Vision 2020 international online conference, 2001.

See all of Dr Chris Rolph's publications...

Press expertise

  • Education policy
  • School leadership and accountability
  • Teacher training
  • Teacher recruitment
  • Science education