Education Policy Research Cluster

This cluster aims to encourage and support research into education policy. A broad view of policy is taken. It is seen as a dynamic process involving principles and actions as they relate to education designed to bring about desired goals (Trowler, 2003).

The study of education policy is thus concerned with what changes are occurring in a particular area of interest, who are involved in these developments, what are the key drivers and their impact.

Research interests

Members take a critical, analytical and resistant approach to the study of education, grappling with contested ideologies and concepts. The focus may be international, national, regional, local or within particular educational establishments. A range of areas of education are explored and as such we draw from and feed into the other research clusters. The cluster offers intellectually rigorous analysis of educational processes, discourses, systems and approaches and their philosophical, cultural, social, political and historical contexts.

Some of the many areas currently studied by colleagues include:

  • The development of performance management in schools.
  • The impact of market forces on provision in FE.
  • The influences of gender, ethnicity, socio economic background on achievement.
  • The purposes and effectiveness of training provision for young people.
  • The use of practitioner research as a means of teacher empowerment.
  • Forces for curriculum change in schools, FE and HE. 
  • Lifelong learning
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Social class
  • Disability

Cluster team

Members: Lindsey Andrews; Rachel Baig; Stephanie Brewster; Paul Campbell; Dr Andy Cramp; Angela Gault; Dr Anne Hollinshead; Ron Sargeant; Dr David Thompson; Paul Wiseman. 

Associate members (whose main cluster is not Education Policy):  Dr Zeta Brown and Julie Wilde.


Team Research Interests

Dr Stephanie Brewster
Research interests:
Communication with children and adults with learning disabilities; Communication for social inclusion.

Dr Andy Cramp
Research interests:
Informal learning; Disaffection.

Dr Angela Gault
Research interests: How the concepts and processes of the PGCE influence and shape the professional identities of trainee and newly qualified teachers.

Dr Anne Hollinshead
Research interests:
Social justice; Widening participation; Gifted children.

Ron Sargent
Research interests: Education Management, in particular occupational motivation and staff morale in secondary schools; the wider socio-political context of secondary education with particular focus on Design and Technology.

Dr David Thompson
Research interests:
Access; Inclusion; Widening participation.

Paul Wiseman
Research interests: Early years, in particular early intervention programmes such as SureStart, inter-organisation partnership working within the context of Children’s services.