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Penny Goodman

Penny Goodman

Institute Associate



  • University of Cambridge: Institute Associate, Scott Polar Research Institute.
  • Head of Girls' School, Forest School London
  • Teaching and middle management posts in a variety of school settings
  • Team Inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate
  • School Governor
  • A level examiner


  • MPhil in Polar Studies, Christ's College Cambridge.
  • NPQH National Professional Qualification for Headship
  • PGCE Post Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Geography B.A., M.A. New Hall, University of Cambridge.


Penny's research interest primarily lies in education policy and its interaction with social, political and economic change in the circumpolar north. Her research largely focuses on the education of indigenous peoples in recent decades and the twin challenges of building capacity and supporting the development of cultural identity against a background of rapid social and economic transformation in the Arctic. The research recognises the geographical barriers of providing education in small and remote communities.

Penny's interest in the polar regions began in the late 1970s and initially focused on the physical environment, however following a career as a teacher and educational management her focus shifted to the issue of providing an effective education, which meets the needs and the aspirations of those living in the Arctic. In 2017, Penny's MPhil thesis examined the development of education policy in Nunavut since the creation of the territory. The thesis examined the impact of education policy on educational outcomes in the Territory and the varied views of education held by different stakeholders.

Penny's research interests include: education of indigenous peoples; the revitalisation of indigenous languages; the purposes of education; education policy; the use of social media as a data source to complement statistical data and the development of national and territorial identity.

External activities

  • Member of the Polar Social Sciences Workshop (PSSW)
  • Hon Secretary, the Arctic Club
  • Fellow Royal Geographical Society
  • Friend of the Scott Polar Research Institute
  • Beekeeper

Other professional activities

For almost 20 years, I have served as a school governor at a school in Tower Hamlets with two periods as Chair. The School has an annual turnover of £2million and currently has a development project of over £4million.

I have instigated and organised educational conferences, which drew delegates from the UK and European schools as well as a variety of educational institutions.

Other highlights of my career have been: going on expeditions in the Arctic, delivering lectures to guests on cruise ships in the Arctic; working with young people. In pursuit of my polar interests I have travelled quite widely in the Arctic and have also visited Antarctica. This travel has given me first-hand experience of polar environments and the people who live there. These experiences led to my MPhil research as I became aware of the challenges faced by policy makers, employers and others involved in education and schools in Greenland.

I am grateful for the support given to me by staff at the Scott Polar Research Institute and particularly to Dr Michael Bravo who supervised my MPhil research.