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


Digital Futures in Teacher Education

The Digital Futures in Teacher Education (DeFT) project was undertaken as part of the third phase of the


Family of Schools Evaluation

Formative and summative evaluation of an inclusion pilot to support pupils with exceptional needs in 8 Families of Schools in Sheffield. The project used mixed methods - secondary analysis of data; focus group with SENCOs, and school case...


An Impact Evaluation of Youth Facilities (Myplace)

This was a joint project with CRESR at Sheffield Hallam University to evaluate 70 MyPlace youth services nationally for Department...


Dreams and Realties

The project was based on secondary data analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) waves 1-6. Statistical modelling was used to investigate factors...


Guidance for improving e-safety in primary schools (2011)

This qualitative project funded by the TDA investigated good practice around e-safety that primary schools had made in light of safeguarding changes to the Ofsted inspection criteria.


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