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Dr David Fincham

Senior Lecturer and Senior Fellow of HEA

Dr David Fincham

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 4170


Dr David Fincham has been involved in Catholic education for over forty years. He has had experience in a range of roles in Catholic secondary education in England, including Head of Year, Head of House, First Deputy Headteacher and Acting Headteacher. Formerly a Programme Director of the MA in Catholic School Leadership programme at St Mary’s University, he now lectures on that programme and also teaches on the Doctorate of Education (Ed. Doc.) programme at St Mary’s University.


His monograph, PSHCE in Catholic secondary schools: stakeholders’ perspectives, was published in 2010. His study, ‘Headteachers in Catholic schools: challenges of leadership’, which was published in International Studies in Catholic Education, gained a Class of 2011 Award as one of the “outstanding examples of current research.”

He was conferred the award of Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in June 2016.

In 2019, his research paper, ‘Headteachers in Catholic Schools in England: Contemporary Challenges. A follow-up research study’ was published online in International Studies in Catholic Education. David has also given presentations as a keynote speaker to teachers at Catholic secondary schools in England.


Research profile

Significant areas of scholarship and research focus on Catholic school leadership, spiritual capital, pastoral care, blended learning and distance learning. He has presented papers at international conferences, most recently on Christian Humanism at the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka and on Distance Learning at the Sam Houston University, Texas.

He is an active member of BERA and BELMAS. He is also a doctoral supervisor of Ph.D. and Ed. Doc. research students.

Recent Publications

‘Headteachers in Catholic schools in England: contemporary challenges. A follow-up research study: part 1’, International Studies in Catholic Education, pp1-14 online (2019)

‘The United States and the United Kingdom: a special relationship’ in American Research Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol 2, Issue 3, pp47-53 March 2019

‘Learning Without Limits: The Experience of Students Engaging as Online Learners on a Masters Programme in London UK’ in Journal of Education and Social Development 2-2 Dec 2018 pp 45-52

‘Implications and Challenges in studying as a Full Distance Learner on a Master’s Programme: Students’ Perspectives’ in International Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 6, No. 1; 2017

‘The Story of an Educational Innovation: the MA in Catholic School Leadership at St Mary’s University College. Twickenham, 1997-2013. Principles, Pedagogy and Research Studies’ (with Sullivan, J. and Murphy, A.) in International Studies in Catholic Education (Spring 2015)

‘Towards Academy Conversion: Challenges and Opportunities for Catholic Schools’ (with Lydon, J.) in Journal of Studies in Social Sciences Volume 9, Number 2 (2014) 159-195

‘Introducing Online Learning in Higher Education: An Evaluation’ in Creative Education 2013, Vol.4, No.9, 540-548 September 2013

‘Towards a conception of the fundamental values of Catholic education: what we can learn from the writings of John Paul II’ in The Person and the Challenges, Volume 2 (2012) Number 2, pp. 103-120

‘Headteachers in Catholic schools: challenges of leadership’ in International Studies in Catholic Education, Volume 2, Issue 1, 64, Spring 2010

(Class of 2011 Award - one of the most downloaded articles published in 2010: The article was one of the “outstanding examples of the current research. We are extremely proud to publish on your behalf”.)

External Examining, Validation or Reviewing Roles on Research Degrees

2020- External Examiner Ed. D. Canterbury Christ University

2015 External Examiner Ed. D. University of Derby

2010 External Validator Sarum College/ Winchester University – Validation MA Theology, Imagination and Culture and MA Faith-based Approaches to Leadership

Conference Papers

November 2019 Network of Researchers in Catholic Education conference, Birmingham: ‘Are MATS and Academies a threat to the future of Catholic Education in England and Wales?’

October 2019 Network of Researchers in Catholic Education conference, Dublin City University, Dublin: ‘Towards the renewal of spiritual capital: a contemporary challenge for head teachers in Catholic schools in England’

September 2019 Notre Dame Catholic High School, Norwich – staff professional development day: ‘The spiritual core of what we do: implications for practice’

January 2019 St Alban’s Catholic High School, Ipswich – staff professional development day: ‘Catholic ethos: what does it mean and what are the implications for a Catholic school’

January 2019 St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Catford – governors’ training: ‘Renewing our Catholic Ethos in a Catholic Academy’

December 2018 University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka – International Research Conference on ‘Christian Studies’ (IRCCS): ‘Christian Humanistic Ethos: an oxymoron?’

November 2018 St Peter’s Catholic secondary school, Guildford – staff professional development day: ‘Renewing our Catholic ethos: being Christ to all’

September 2018 Network for Researchers in Catholic Education Conference, Newman University, Birmingham, on the theme of ‘Head Teachers in Catholic Schools: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities’

September 2018 St Mary’s Catholic High School Croydon – staff professional development day: ‘Mission Leadership: Building for the Future’

April 2018 Sam Houston State University, Texas, ‘Learning without limits: The experience of students engaging as online learners on a Masters Programme in London UK’

February 2018 St Benedict’s Catholic College, Colchester – staff professional development day

2017 Portsmouth Diocese Headteachers’ Conference: Contemporary challenges and opportunities for Catholic school leaders: implications for formation

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