The Researcher

Professional Background

Dr Joan Mowat is a highly experienced teacher who has taught in a range of schools in the West of Scotland over a twenty-eight year period working in areas as diverse as leafy suburbs and areas of multiple deprivation. She spent the last seven years of her teaching career as a Depute Head Teacher in a Secondary School in West Dunbartonshire. She is currently a Senior Lecturer within the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland and is Course Leader for the Masters in Education programme. She also teaches on the Scottish Qualification for Headship programme, having received the award herself in 2003. 

Although initially a Music teacher, Joan developed a passionate interest in trying to help and support young people experiencing difficulty in coping with school life – those who were on the margins and often disaffected from school. She was the recipient of the SCRE practitioner award in 1997 for her work in promoting positive behaviour in Woodfarm High School, East Renfrewshire. Working with a social worker, Joan developed a new group work approach to support such pupils. The programme was rated highly by HMIE and was cited as an example of best practice. Joan’s evaluation of this work, over a five year period, involving sixty-nine young people, formed the basis of her Ph D which was successfully completed in Dec 2008 and of her book, ‘Using Support Groups to Improve Behaviour’.

Professional Outreach

This work has attracted a great deal of interest and Joan has made frequent presentations at both professional and academic conferences, including the Keynote address at the SEBDA Conference in Kent, 2012 and an earlier Keynote address at Turriff Academy, Aberdeenshire focussing upon the Scottish policy, ‘Getting it right for every child’ (GIRFEC). She has also published widely in academic journals and has been invited to review books in the sphere of inclusion and behaviour management. She has undertaken consultancy work for schools within Aberdeenshire, Falkirk, North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire and is currently working with Paisley Grammar School, Renfrewshire in faciliating  action research projects within the school focussing upon differentiation.

Funded Research Projects

Joan has  been the recipient of two grant awards: the first, a grant of £8000 from the Gordon Cook Foundation which promotes citizenship in Scotland; the second, a grant of £24000 from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation which reached closure in Feb 2013, working with two Scottish Local Authorities – Aberdeenshire and Falkirk – to take forward the work on Support Groups which had been developed whilst undertaking the PhD, extending it into the upper Primary stages and the transition from Primary to Secondary.