Dr Gale Macleod

Senior Lecturer


I studied Philosophy and Theology at Oxford University before working as a residential care worker in a therapeutic community in Warwickshire. On returning to Edinburgh I continued to pursue academic study whilst working first as a care worker and later as a teacher in units and schools for young people described as having social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). My PhD, completed in 2005, mapped the separate provision available in Scotland for these young people, and explored the experiences of a group of young people of being educated separately. In 2004 I took up a post as lecturer in primary education and SEBD at Edinburgh. My undergraduate teaching focuses on the application of a range of theoretical perspectives to further understanding of disaffected and disruptive behaviour in schools.


  • BA(hons) Philosophy/Theology (Oxford University)
  • MEd (Edinburgh)
  • PGDE (Primary) (Moray House)
  • PGDSpLD (Edinburgh)
  • PhD (Edinburgh)

Postgraduate teaching

In 2019/20 I have overall responsibility for the School's generic research methods courses, and the Dissertation Support Strand, and am course organiser from 'Sources of Knowledge'.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

  • Colin Brough - Identity in Looked After and Accommodated Children [co-supervised with Dr Mark Smith in School of Social and Political Sciences]
  • Victor Olivia Paz - Residential child care, social pedagogy, Education and social change
  • Graham Thomson - Secondary Head Teachers as leaders for learning: the challenges for leadership focused on learning and teaching
  • Robin Dallas-Child - Exploring the impact of British educational policy on learners in alternative provision 
  • Ghaleyah Alajmi - Executive function in children and adults with Down syndrome: a systematic review, pilot and intervention study    
  • Xiaomeng Tian - A qualitative study of pedagogical relationships at PGT level in the UK
  • Anton Elloway - Hannah Arendt, EAP and Higher Education
  • Susy Paulus - Outdoor Education and Refugees
  • Douglas Briton - Emergencies on Outdoor Expeditions

Past PhD students supervised

  • James MacAllister - The quantity, nature and effectiveness of programmes/courses relating to understanding, improving and positively influencing discipline and behaviour in schools in initial teacher education (ITE) / What should Discipline in Schools be for?
  • Scott Breslin - An investigation of the professional development needs of expatriate leadersof humanitarian aid projects in Central Asia and the Middle East
  • Mary Taiwo - Teachers' Negotiation of Inclusive Practice in Nigerian Classrooms
  • George Abakah - Boys' Perspectives of Peer-Bullying in Ghanaian Secondary Schools
  • Harriet Obeng - Teaching and Learning for Effective Understanding in Ghana
  • Ruth Glynne-Owen - How/ in what ways does the diagnostic process for Autism Spectrum Disorder impact on parental perceptions of their pre-school child
  • Jenestar Wanjiru - The experiences of head teachers in improving retention of vulnerable childrenin primary schools in Kenya
  • Katherine Friend - Widening participation initiatives and the experience of underrepresented students at three elite institutions: a comparative study
  • Raheleh Mireslami - Critical thinking as a method of education [co-supervision with Dr Stephen McKinney from University of Glasgow]
  • Tina Stones - Action research for curriculum design and programme development: what does 'well-being' mean to young people? Does an eight-week course in mindfulness develop well-being?
  • Carolyn Hutchinson - How do grandparents in Scotland who are sharing the care of babies and toddlers in families for the first time learn and experience their role, and what influence might their practice have on the children's early learning

Research summary

I am aligned to two research clusters in the School of Education:

Equality, Social Justice and Inclusion, and Pedagogy, Learning and Curriculum

My areas of interest include:

  • The experiences of young people identified as having Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties;
  • Multi-disciplinary approaches to understanding disruptive behaviour;
  • Authority relationships and understanding compliance;
  • The experiences of students in Higher Education (with a focus on PGT students).

Current research interests

I am Co-I with Dr Martin Toye on the 'Beyond Behaviour' project which seeks to explore the social consequences of being diagnosed (or not) as having a behavioural or neurodevelopmental disorder. More information on the project can be found here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/education/rke/centres-groups/creid/projects/beyond-behaviour-neurodevelopmental-disorders. I am leading on a systematised scoping review of literature relating to PGT study with Marsall Dozier from MVM and colleagues from the University of Sussex and Edinburgh Napier University. I am currently working with Professor Lyn Tett on a study which aims to investigate how families who worked with family learning team (FLT) workers across Edinburgh when their children started school 7 - 10 years ago remember that experience and any influence it may have had on them.

Knowledge exchange

I co-ordinate the 'Moray House Read, Write, Count' group which looks at ways in which students from Moray House can support the work of the Scottish Book Trust and family learning workers in the local authority.


Affiliated research centres

Project activity

  • Beyond Behaviour (with Martin Toye, Robin Dallas-Childs and Maggi Laurie) Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre funded
  • Too Close To Home (with Katie Cebula, Kelly Stone and Stella Chan) IIG funding
  • Authority Relationships across settings (with Pauline Sangster, Ian Fyfe and Robbie Nicol). Moray House Seedcorn Funding 2014
  • Behaviour Management Grant 2011 (with Gillean McCluskey)
  • Scottish Government. Research into Behaviour in Scottish Schools 2009, (Research Assistant).
  • Department of Children Schools and Families. Outcomes for Excluded Pupils 2006-2009, (Co-Investigator).
  • ESRC. Knowledge Exchange Across Settings 2008. Co-ordinator - of a project to facilitate communication between mainstream and special schools.
  • DTRF. Disabled Students in Higher Education 2007/8, with Dr Katie Cebula. A project exploring the experiences of students with disabilities on placement.
  • ESRC TRLP project, 'Epistemology of Educational Research' 2007.

Current project grants

SUII Seminar Series (Co-Lead with Dr Joan Mowat from Strathclyde University) on Poverty, Attainment and Wellbeing