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


Evaluation of the Beyond Booked Up Programme

Evaluation of a targeted programme for secondary schools aimed at supporting reading, writing and the spoken language.The evaluation had three strands: an expert review to assess the resources being used in schools, a teacher...


Transition to KS2

The aim of the project is to identify factors that may explain why some pupils in junior schools in the Rotherham area are not achieving at the same progression rates as pupils in through primaries and similar junior schools.


Study of the Impact of the Prince's Teaching Institute Schools Programme

Initial work on a longitudinal study of the work of the Prince's Teaching Institute's 'Schools Programme' a residential-based subject-focussed


Think Forward

An evaluation of The Private Equity Foundation: Think Forward project. This is a Random Control Trial evaluation of an intervention designed to boost educational aspirations and attainment through the use of coaches working with young people in danger of becoming


Research for the need for and capacity to deliver Science and Technological Apprenticeship provision in England

Research for the need for and capacity to deliver Science and Technological Apprenticeship provision in England (STEM Apprenticeships).Three stage research into need for and capacity to deliver STEM-related Apprenticeships in England. First stage was statistical analysis in...


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