Chris Rolph completed a PhD in astrophysics before teaching in secondary schools. During 10 years in the classroom, he achieved accreditation as an advanced skills teacher and then secured his first headship, going on to lead three schools over the next 13 years. During this time, he carried out funded research projects for the Training and Development Agency for Schools and the National College for School Leadership, and published papers with the Schools, Students and Teachers network. In 2016 he joined Nottingham Trent University, where he is now the director of Nottingham Institute of Education. He has taught on a range of undergraduate and initial teacher education courses, and supervises masters’ and doctoral students. His research interests include educational leadership, school performance and accountability, and the policy–practice interface. He is currently immersed in writing an undergraduate textbook on understanding education policy.