Valerie Hall

Valerie Hall, the distinguished educational researcher and teacher, died last month from cancer of the liver just before her 59th birthday.

Mrs Hall was a fine scholar and teacher who worked at Essex University, the Open University and, from 1985 until her retirement through ill health in 1998, at Bristol University. There she played a key role in the success of the country's first professional doctorate (Ed D) programme for educators.

Her PhD, Women in Journalism, was the foundation for her substantial contribution to research on gender and school leadership. This was evident in her work on two major studies at the OU - on the selection and changing roles of secondary headteachers - and on the first major investigation of secondary school senior management teams at the National Development Centre for School Management Training in Bristol.

Valerie's eloquent delivery and sharp wit were heard at many educational research conferences.

Her contribution on gender and school headship culminated in the 1996 book Dancing on the Ceiling: A study of women managers in education. A private person, Valerie Hall was always surprised by the high esteem in which she was held. As well as influencing innumerable students, she was a role model and inspiration for many colleagues.

She loved returning home to Monmouthshire, where she stayed cheerful and positive to the end.

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