Department of Education

Research projects

Current projects

Project title Aim/findings People and Partners Funder
Geographies of Higher Education: Spatial and social mobilities This project will shed new light on the geographical limits to social mobility, through the lens of young people’s university choices in the UK. ESRC Future Research Leader
Conceptualisations of pedagogical contexts and development of appropriate pedagogies The project aims to support student teachers with their professional development, improve teaching quality and inform revision of education courses in Brazil.  
Parental Engagement Toolkit This project will, with 30 schools in the Wiltshire Local Authority, pilot a toolkit which will support schools to increase parental engagement with children’s learning. Public Engagement Unit at the University of Bath
Evaluation of Leading Parent Partnership Award Recertification The report found that schools reported positive changes (in behaviour, and attendance) during the time they’ve held the award, as well as increased communication (in lieu of simple information giving) with parents. The Leading Parent Partnership Award
School-Home Communication - Texting This small scale qualitative project examined parents' perceptions of school-home communication, as well as family practices around homework and study. Universities of Bristol and Harvard
Mice of Mischief: Play, Quantity and Children with Down Syndrome/Learning Difficulties To design an app that provides an engaging activity for children with Down Syndrome which develops perceptions and understanding of quantity
  • Jill Porter
  • Cara and Will Jessop
  • MadeinMe
Open Cases: case studies on openness in higher education The project aims to support the Directorate General of Education and Culture of the European Commission in the design of effective policies to open up education. The Opening up Education initiative of the European Commission sets out a European agenda for stimulating high-quality, innovative ways of learning and teaching through new technologies and digital content with a focus on the development and availability of Open Educational Resources (OER) and open learning environments.
  • Manuel Souto-Otero
Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
A  Review of School Governance To be confirmed Business in the Community
Postgraduate students' and tutors' knowledge, perceptions, and beliefs about feedback provision: A multiple case study across the disciplines The project aims to investigate the cognitive dimension of feedback provision (both teacher/student cognition) within Master’s programmes belonging to three different academic disciplines. The outcomes are expected to contribute to our understanding of feedback provision and to impact on research and assessment practices in UK and overseas higher education institutions. Higher Education Academy
Feedback provision and the development of language awareness in pre-service EFL teachers: A cognitive dimension To be confirmed To be confirmed
Study on the impact of non-formal education in youth organisations on young people's employability Date for completion: January 2013
  • Manuel Souto-Otero
European Youth Forum
Review of credit accumulation and transfer policy and practice in the UK higher education sector Date for completion: January 2013
  • Manuel Souto-Otero
Higher Education Academy
ESRC Rising Powers - Global Challenges and Social Change Initiative Network The aim of the network is to explore the likely futures for education, well being and human security as new economic conditions emerge in Brazil, Russia and South Africa.
This Network will focus on the reciprocal, and as yet not fully understood, relationships, between economic growth, education and well being which may well be understood differently in different economic and cultural contexts.

Recent projects

Project title Aim/findings People and Partners Funder
The role of the clerk to the corporation of Further Education colleges in England in ensuring high quality college governance
  1. To analyse the policy, regulatory and guidance documentation on the responsibilities of the clerk in FE institutions in relation to ensuring high quality college governance
  2. To analyse the literature on positions and roles analogous to that of the clerk in FE colleges in other 'Education and Training providers', and in the private, public and voluntary sectors in relation to ensuring high quality college governance
  3. To understand the nature of responsibility and the role of the clerk to the FE corporation in FE institutions in England in relation to ensuring high quality college governance
  4. To engage clerks in all regions in England in the research, thereby  enhancing their professional learning and development in relation to ensuring high quality  governance
  5. To disseminate the findings as widely as possible to all relevant audiences: practitioners, trainers, sector membership organisations, policy-makers and academics
Education and Training Foundation
An analysis of the role of Chairs of Further Education College Governing Boards in England To analyse the role of the chair of the further education college governing boards in England  
A research project into effectively managing headteacher performance
  1. To characterise effective approaches to HTPM;
  2. To exemplify effective approaches to the management of headteacher (HT) underperformance;
  3. To identify the challenges faced by GBs in implementing effective HTPM and the management of HT underperformance and corresponding management approaches that recognise and overcome the difficulties;
  4. To identify the implications of a, b and c above for the development and training of GBs and others involved in HTPM and the management of HT underperformance.
  • Chris James
  • Megan Crawford
  • Peter Earley
  • David Eddy Spicer
Department for Education
Understanding and Developing the role of the chair of the school governing body ( the ChGB)
  1. What are the characteristics ChGBs?
  2. What is the nature of the responsibilities of ChGBs as experienced and interpreted by the role-holders?
  3. What are the practices of ChGBs?
  4. What are ChGBs’ development needs?
  5. What is the nature of relationship between ChGBs and headteachers?
  6. What are the key contextual variables that influence the characteristics, responsibilities, practices and development needs of ChGBs, and the relationship between ChGBs and headteachers?
  7. How are the characteristics, responsibilities, practices and development needs of ChGBs, and the relationship between ChGBs and headteachers contingent upon key contextual variables?
CfBT Education Trust
Taking turns: encouraging mutual engagement between International and Home students in small group learning discussions Date of completion: 2011 to 2012 Higher Education Academy
Conceptions of effort in year 8 students, their parents and teachers at a school in Somerset 12 month exploratory qualitative study that aims to understand different conceptions and perceptions of effort held by Year 8 students, their teachers and parents. It investigates the ways in which school grading policy and guidelines inform the assessment of effort; to help develop teachers' capacities to design appropriate assessment strategies for effort.
  • Andy Stables
  • Kyoko Murakami
British Academy
Disability Data Collection for Children’s Services - Preparing for the 2011 School Census Concluded that disability cannot be identified without reference to impact and therefore requires data collection from both parents and children. A toolkit was designed that incorporates a national questionnaire for use with parents and a suite of five flexible tools for use with children.
  • Jill Porter
  • Harry Daniels
  • Jayne Hacker
  • Sue Martin
  • Anthony Feiler (University of Bristol)
  • Jan Georgeson (University of Chichester)
FACE - Review of the Growing Schools Initiative Working with FACE and the network of organisations involved in the Growing Schools Initiatives, this project will provide advice and guidance on future focus and priorities, especially in relation to the Every Child Matters agenda. Farming and Countryside Education (FACE)
Implementing education quality in low income countries Research aimed to generate new knowledge to assist governments in low income countries, DFID and the international development community to implement initiatives that will improve the quality of education in ways that wil benefit the poorest people in the world and will improve gender equity. Department for International Development (DFID)
Re-thinking the needs of International Students' critical perspectives on the internationalisation of UK Higher Education Institutions Inspired by the current fervour to ‘internationalise’ among UK HE Institutions and, in particular, the unprecedented growth in the enrolment of students from outside the UK, an ESRC seminar series was organised. ESRC
University of Birmingham
The effectiveness of a programme for CPD leaders in the SW region   North Somerset Council
The international review of school governance   CfBT Education Trust
Development of teaching practices in nursing education through 'practice-developing research'  
  • Seth Chaiklin
  • Anne Sievert (University College Sjælland)
University College Sealand
Disability participation and voice  This research concluded that disability cannot be identified without reference to impact and therefore requires data collection from both parents and children.
  • Jill Porter
Evaluation of the effectiveness of a programme to re-integrate ethnically mixed students in Mostar To evaluate the effectiveness of a programme which brings together Bosnian, Croat and Serb students in ethnically mixed teaching groups rather than the divided groups in which teaching normally takes place in Mostar. The initiative, located at Mostar Gymnasium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, is supported by the International Baccalaureate organisation and the United World Colleges and is aimed at promoting the re-integration of students following the conflict of the 1990s.
Date of Completion: 2009
CfBT Education Trust
Evaluation of the pilot of a Welsh Baccalaureate qualification The National Assembly for Wales funded the development of a new post-16 programme known as the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification; developed and piloted by the Cardiff-based Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC).
Three cohorts of a total of 31 schools and colleges were involved, with students who begun the two year programme in each of September 2003, September 2004 and September 2005. The University of Bath team were Internal Evaluators for the project, providing on-going formative evaluation and reporting on a regular basis to the WJEC Welsh Baccalaureate Project Team and to the Welsh Assembly.
The second phase of the evaluation focused on Higher Education recognition, evaluation of models for delivery of the qualification at Advanced and Intermediate levels post-16, and evaluation of the more recently introduced Foundation level and Key Stage 4.
National Assembly for Wales
Welsh Joint Education Committee
Welsh Assembly Government
Welsh Joint Education Committee
External evaluation to the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust The AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust is a charitable trust that promotes the professional development of Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 teachers and subject leaders, poviding new ideas, teaching methods and resources to help improve the way children learn science. AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust
'Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe' - an examination of the effectiveness of an e-learning initiative The Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe [VCSE] is an EU-funded consortium of Universities that have constructed a cross-institutional e-learning initiative to teach about sustainability issues.
Bill Scott was one of two invited external evaluators to this initiative. Bill's speciality relates to the ‘sustainable Europe’ element of this work, and he contributed to the project's thinking about how sustainability could be incorporated into programmes and degrees, as well as writing a formal external evaluation for the EU.
Disability data collection for children's services The project involves a national trial using two approaches to collecting data - a questionnaire for parents and carers, and activities to collect pupil views on barriers and supports to learning.
  • Jill Porter
Department for Children, Schools and families (DfCSF)
Learning across boundaries: levering out the findings of research This small project was designed to assist in the process of levering out the knowledge from two ESRC TLRP projects.
  • Harry Daniels
Student placements and their impact on learning and employability Pilot study exploring the impact of extended work placements on student learning in different groups of learners across disciplines in the University.
  • Kate Bullock
  • Momna Hejmadi
  • Gary Lock
University Teaching and Development Fund
Teacher professional development in relation to sustainable development education Government Office funded a consortium of local authority and NGOs to run a series of conferences for teachers and school leaders across the South-west. Government Office for South West
V-ResORT: Virtual resources for online research training Project addresses the need to build capacity in UK research and to develop research skills training that acknowledges educational research as a complex, dynamic and diverse process. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
Young people's contemporary thinking on Education for Sustainable Development Reengague is a project run by a group of young people brought together with British Council and Defra funding through the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Alan and Bill were external advisors to this initiative which involves working with the young people in the group and their Wiltshire Wildlife Trust co-ordinator, reacting to their ideas and proposals and providing specific salient research and evaluation advice so that they could help youth groups across the county, and the youth services team at County Hall, to bring a greater focus on sustainability to their on-going activities.
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust: Wiltshire Young People's Environment Group
An evaluation of the Cornwall pilot School Improvement Partners Scheme Further evaluation of the Secondary School Improvement Partners (SSIPs) scheme in Cornwall, which used current or recently retired Cornwall secondary school head teachers as SIPs. Cornwall Local Authority
Chinese learners' perceptions and construction of British academic culture  
  • Trevor Grimshaw
Educational relationships and their impact on poverty  
  • Felicity Wikeley
Explore underlying reasons for anomalies in B&NES SAT results in England - focus on KS2 and KS3  
  • Felicity Wikeley
Facilitating father development work practice in early years learning  
  • Rita Chawla-Duggan
Global corporate strategy and the future of skills  
  • Hugh Lauder
  • Phil Brown
  • Dave Ashton
Knowledge transfer partnership with Tribeca  
  • Paul Denley
Learning in and for interagency working  
  •  Harry Daniels
Learning in and for interagency working: multiagency work in Northern Ireland  
  • Harry Daniels
  • Tim Gallagher
  • Rosemary Kilpatrick
Primary school composition and student progress  
  • Hugh Lauder
  • Harvey Goldstein
  • Tony Robinson
  • Ruth Lupton
  • Martin Thrupp
Strategic review of sustainable development in higher education teaching in England  
  • Steve Gough
  • Junko Katayama
ICT developments to enhance community participation of people with learning disabilities  
  • Harry Daniels
  • Jill Porter
  • Sarah Parsons (University of Birmingham)
  • Chris Robertson (University of Birmingham)
The impact of new health imperatives on Schools Completed in 2009 ESRC