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


Research and Development Framework for National College

The funder for the project is the National College and the work is led by the Institute of Education London with NFER and Sheffield Hallam University.The requirement was to...


Bookstart Programme

Mixed methods study. Review of Bookstart resources, online survey with follow up interviews with stakeholders and development and use of impact tool.Dates: March 2012 - February 2013Funding:


Research Engaged Schools Network

To establish a self sustaining research engaged schools network to provide an infrastructure for Sheffield Institute of Education to work collaboratively with groups of schools (e.g. TSAs, Academy chains, Trusts) to secure funding for, and...


Evaluation of Booked up

Qualitative study, utilising interviews with 40 pupils across 5 schools and focus groups with teachers in 2 of these, to investigate the impact on children's reading enjoyment and engagement.Dates: January 2012 - March...


Understandings and experiences of 'community' among LGBT people (2012)

This study funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council examined understandings and experiences of LGBT communities and assessed implications for health and wellbeing, employing a literature review, online survey, and in-depth interviews...


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