26 SES 05 A, Researching Principals' Professional Identities Across National Contexts
Students of color constitute a majority in many British metropolitan areas, yet Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) educators and their views remain vastly underrepresented in the research literature (Bush, 2011). Part of a larger study of the life histories of thirty Black and South Asian headteachers from diverse schools throughout Britain, this paper questions: How do BAME headteachers in Britain narrate their racial, ethnic, religious, and gendered identities? How do these social identities shape and interact with their professional identity as a school leader? And, in turn, how might these identities be repositioned depending on context and circumstances? Qualitative interviews were used to investigate the critical incidents that have influenced their path to leadership and the intersection of their professional and social identities. This paper focuses specifically on the narratives of two BAME headteachers, one of African Caribbean background who is leading in a Hindu state-supported primary school, and another of South Asian origin who leads a diverse West London comprehensive secondary school which has recently been converted to an Academy. In particular I discuss the challenges (and opportunities) of the interviewer when studying professional identities across race, religion, and national context.
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