About Me/Education: After studying for a BA in History at Durham University, I stayed in the North East and worked for three years at Dyke House Sports and Technology College in Hartlepool. I worked in roles both within the Sixth Form and, latterly in developing a whole school approach (Year 4 to Year 13) to progression to university. This school based experienced of widening participation led me to take an academic interest in the policies and infrastructure of the sector. In 2016 I moved to London to undertake an MA in Education Policy at the Institute of Education where my dissertation focused on the perceptions of higher education in low progression groups. For the last two years I have worked at The Brilliant Club, a charity an independently-evaluated charity that exists to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds that progress to highly-selective universities.
My Research: My research investigates the effect of school-university partnerships on progression rates to university for underrepresented groups. This project considers a range of factors that influence the nature and effectiveness of school-university partnerships. Universities are held accountable for widening participation (WP) work by their Access and Participation Plans, agreed and monitored by the Office for Students (Ofs). Such agreements are currently a requirement for charging higher tuition fees, creating an incentive for universities to comply with government WP policy. In contrast, whilst schools are, in effect, the gatekeepers who control access to pupils, their accountability measures are focused elsewhere. The recent changes to the regulator and the increased government focus on widening participation as a tool for social mobility, has meant an increasingly high profile and constantly evolving environment in which school-university partnerships operate in order to carry out this work.
Supervisors: Dr Rachel Wilde
Location: Institute of Education, UCL
Personal Homepage/Twitter/Social Media contact details: @SallyAnnHolt