Post 16, skills and higher education policy

Our expertise

We have expertise in many aspects of higher education (HE) policy, including

  • widening participation
  • the admissions system
  • the impact of tuition fees and bursaries
  • the Student Number Control policy introduced in 2012/13
  • the impact of student choice on institutional behaviours

Our broad portfolio of work in post 16, skills and higher education (HE) policy includes being on the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills Research Framework along with our colleagues in CRESR.

As a result, we have been awarded the contract to carry out research into the need for and capacity to deliver STEM related apprenticeship provision in England.

We have also been awarded a framework agreement contract with the Education Endowment Foundation. One of the first projects awarded under this is the pilot evaluation of ThinkForward – a coaching-based intervention designed to work with young people in Y10 and Y11 in danger of becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET) by the age of 16.

Staff undertaking this research are

  • Dr Colin McCaig
  • Sean Demack
  • Anna Stevens
  • Ben Willis
  • Claire Wolstenholme
  • Dr Carol Taylor

Work in the post-16 and skills agendas is led by Dr Colin McCaig and Dr Bronwen Maxwell.

Colin also leads the HE area, where he developing an international profile with his critical analyses of recent HE policy reforms. His publications focus on

  • the impact of market reforms, choice and competition on the English HE sector
  • content and discourse analyses of institutional access policy documents
  • comparative analysis of financial support regimes (bursaries and scholarships) over time and by institution type
  • comparative analyses of widening participation and fair access policies over time and internationally

Find out more
Email Colin McCaig at c.mccaig@shu.ac.uk phone 01142256062

Search our work


Bookstart Resource Review

Repeat of study of bookstart resources conducted first in 2012 at invitation of Booktrust.Dates: April 2014 - June 2014Funding:


Deepening our understanding of R&D in teaching school alliances

Deepening our understanding of R&D in teaching school alliances: an opportunity to build on the existing R&D work of teaching school alliances in themes 1 and 2 through additional data collection and analysisThe project is a continuation of the National...


Engage Evaluation

A 3 year evaluation of ENGAGE (Equipping the Next Generation for Active Engagement in Science) project led by Centre for Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University and funded by 7th...


Mentoring teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Further Education in England

The project examines mentoring and the potential for external mentoring in FE. The research involves three elements.1) A review of existing research literature on mentoring and other support for the professional learning and development (


Bookgifting Literature Review

The aim of the work was to review the UK and international evidence about bookgifting.The review considered the different forms of bookgifting


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