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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Prof Stephen Gorard

Professor in the School of Education
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 48419
Room number: ED211

(email at

Affiliate of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education

The kinds of poverty in schools and their impact on student progress

This project, led by Professor Stephen Gorard, looks at several different kinds of relative poverty faced by young people in schools and could have important implications for theory and practice, without gathering any new data. Please click the link below to find out more.


Stephen Gorard is Director of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education (DECE), Professor of Education and Public Policy at Durham University. He has previously held chairs in social science and education at Cardiff, York and Birmingham. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Wolfson Research Institute. He is a member of the ESRC Commissioning panel for the Research Methods Programme, the grant awarding panel for the British Academy, and the National Center of Science and Technology Evaluation, Kazakhstan. He has been a member of the ESRC GAP for Edcuation, ESRC Commissioning Panel for Research Seminars and Strategic Networks, and on the expert roster for 3ie – the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, a Methods Expert for the US government Institute of Education Science, and Independent Expert for the EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme. He is also an evaluator/reviewer for the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Brazil, the Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ), Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P. (FCT), the Portuguese public funding agency for R&D, and The Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding, Romania.

His work concerns the robust evaluation of education as a lifelong process, focused on issues of equity and effectiveness. He has received over £20m of external funding. He regularly gives advice to governments and other policy-makers, including oral and written advice to the House of Commons Education Committee, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Government. He is also a widely read and cited methodologist, involved in international and regional capacity-building activities, and used regularly as an adviser on the design of evaluations by central and local governments, NGOs and charities. He is currently a recognised evaluator for the European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture, Department of Education (England), the Department of Work and Pensions, the Cabinet Office, the Food Standards Agency, the Learning and Skills Information Service, the Educational Endowment Foundation, and the Youth Endowment Fund.

He is author of nearly 1,000 books and papers. His work has generated considerable media interest, with a press, radio or TV story appearing once per fortnight on average, including Newsnight, National News, Sky News, BBC2 documentaries, BBC Radio Five Live, and BBC Radio Four 'Today Programme', 'The Learning Curve', and ‘Womans Hour’. Among other awards he has won the Society of Educational Studies Book Prize, the Emerald Publishers Literati Prize for Outstanding Paper, the BERA Research Intelligence Paper Prize, and the Birmingham University Award for Excellence in Doctoral Supervision. 'Creating a Learning Society' - one of his 20+ books so far - was selected by the British Educational Research Association as one of the landmark studies of the past 40 years. Research Papers in Education have re-published 30 landmark papers to celebrate 30 years of the journal, including two by Stephen Gorard. His 2018 article on grammar schools for the British Journal of Sociology of Education is the most downloaded of all time ( His work is listed in the A-level Sociology syllabus (

Stephen studied Psychology with Statistics at University College London, gaining a PGCE with distinction in Mathematics and Computing from the University of London IoE, a Masters in Education Management and a PhD in Social Sciences from Cardiff University. He taught for 13 years in secondary schools in England and Wales, including being head of department, and deputy headteacher.

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Professor Stephen Gorard is interested in working with doctoral researchers in a wide range of areas relating to equity and effectiveness in lifelong education - such as school intake stratification, attainment, school effects, school improvement, wider school outcomes, patterns of post-compulsory participation, widening participation, and education and social justice more generally. Stephen is also keen on work intended to enhance the quality of education research, including study design, design-based research, mixing large existing datasets with other forms of data, randomised controlled trials, and developing robust alternatives to RCTs.


Completed supervisions 'since 2008'

Impact assessment of STEM initiatives in improving educational outcomes

Evaluating the impact of instruction in critical thinking on the critical thinking skills of English language learners in higher education.

Relationship Between Principals’ Instructional Leadership and School Effectiveness. Does It Make a Difference? Evidence from the Maldives.

An Evaluation of the ‘Philosophy for Children’ programme: The impact on Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills.

The investigation and evaluation of the support mechanisms offered to adults with a diagnosis of dyslexia in higher education study.

Impact assessment of STEM initiatives in improving educational outcomes. 

The Effectiveness and Equity of Grammar Schools in England.

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2020: Member Cabinet Office What Works Advice panel for civil servants, Prime Minister’s Implementation Unit:
  • 2019: Ambassador, Ednorth Programme:
  • 2019: Member, DfE Advisory Group for Holiday Activities and Food:
  • 2019: Round Table, Future Perfect Education Commission, Parliament, 25/10/19:
  • 2015: ESRC Commissioning Panel: Seminar Series and Strategic Networks
  • 2015: Two landmark papers selected to celebrate 30 years of Research Papers in Education:

  • 2015: Written evidence, Education and Adoption Bill Committee:

    The conversion of coasting schools to Academies

  • 2015: Written evidence, House of Commons Education Committee:

    The work of OFSTED

  • 2014: Cabinet Office:

    Academic Advisory Panel

  • 2014: DfE: Analytical Associate
  • 2014: Education Select Committee:

    Invited to give oral evidence to the inquiry into the underachievement
    in education of White working class children

  • 2014: Grant Assessment Panel (Education): British Academy
  • 2014: Landmark Studies:

    Book by Durham author selected as one of the landmark studies over 40 years in education

  • 2014: Written evidence, House of Commons Education Committee:

    Raising the leaving age

  • 2014: Written evidence, House of Commons Education Committee:

    The summer birth problem

  • 2014: Written evidence, House of Commons Education Committee:

    Academies and Free Schools

  • 2013: Chair and Opening Address:

    Policy Knowledge Raising Educational Attainment Policy Briefing, London,
    February 2013

  • 2013: Closing the gaps:

    Plenary panel member, Schools NE Rising to the Challenge Summit S James'
    Park, Newcastle, October 2013

  • 2013: Collecting evidence and proving impact of widening access, Keynote Address:

    Implementing the National Access Strategy, plenary address to The House:
    Westminister Briefing London November 2013

  • 2013: Invited address on Questioning P4C:

    SAPERE Annual Conference, Birmingham

  • 2013: Keynote Speech:

    Association for the Study of Medicine Annual Conference, London November

  • 2013: Making research real:

    Keynote speech: NATCEN Learning Conference, Cardiff, June 2013

  • 2013: Meet the author:

    Durham Book Festival, October 2013

  • 2013: Most cited education author:

    One of six UK academics in the world top 100 most cited education
    authors, according to Thompson Reuters ISCI

  • 2013: Narrowing the attainment gap:

    Plenary address to The House: Westminster Briefing London October 2013

  • 2013: Overcoming disadvantage in education:

    Campaign for State Education Birmingham City University, October 2013

  • 2013: Tackling poverty:

    Welsh Government, Cardiff, March 2013

  • 2013: Teaching design as the basis for analysis:

    Keynote speech: HEA Re-energising undergraduate research methods pedagogy,
    Liverpool, June 2013

  • 2013: Why mix methods? Keynote speech:

    White Rose DTC Annual Conference, Leeds, May 2013


Research Interests

  • Education and social justice
  • Equity and effectiveness in lifelong education
  • Quality of education research

Research Groups

Research Projects

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Authored book

Edited book

Chapter in book

  • See, B.H., Gorard, S., Morris, R., & el-Soufi, N. (2020). How to recruit and retain teachers in hard-to-staff areas: A systematic review of the empirical evidence. In Exploring Teacher Recruitment and Retention. Ovenden-Hope, T. & Passy, R. Abingdon, Oxon: Taylor & Francis. 148-162.
  • Gorard, S. (2020). Who judges the evidence for evidence-led teaching?. In The research-informed teaching revolution. Brown, C., Flood, J. & Handscomb, G. Ipswich: John Catt.
  • Boliver, Vikki, Gorard, Stephen & Siddiqui, Nadia (2020). Widening Participation in the UK. In Changing Higher Education for a Changing World. 117.
  • Gorard,S., Boliver,V. & Siddiqui,N. (2018). How can contextualised admissions widen participation?. In Achieving Equity and Quality in Higher Education. Shah, M. & McKay, J. London: Palgrave MacMillan. 307-326.
  • Gorard, S. a & Siddiqui, N. (2018). Refining measures of poverty and their impact on student progress in England. In Understanding school segregation. Bonal, X. & Bellei, C. London: Bloomsbury. 85-102
  • Gorard, S. (2017). An introduction to the importance of research design. In The BERA/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research. Wyse, D., Selwyn, N., Smith, E. & Suter, L. London: SAGE. 203-212.
  • Boliver, V., Gorard, S. & Siddiqui, N. (2017). How can we widen participation in higher education? The promise of contextualised admissions. In The University as a Critical Institution?. Deem, R. & Eggins, H. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. 95-110.
  • Gorard, S. (2017). How should numeric data be analysed?. In The BERA/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research. Wyse, D., Selwyn, N., Smith, E. & Suter, L. London: SAGE. 753-768.
  • Gorard, S. (2017). Multiple linear regression. In Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Coe, R., Waring, M., Hedges, L. & Arthur, J. London: Sage. 348-355.
  • Gorard, S. (2017). Statistical and Correlational Techniques. In Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Coe, R., Arthur, J., Hedges, L. & Waring, M. London: Sage. 119-124.
  • Harris, N. & Gorard, S. (2017). The United Kingdom. In Die Bildungssysteme Europas. Döbert, H., Hörner, W., von Kopp, B. & Reuter, Lutz (Hrsg.) Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag Hohengehren. 842-876.
  • Harris, N. & Gorard, S. (2015). The Education System of the United Kingdom. In Education systems of Europe (Updated Second Edition). Hörner, W., Döbert, H., Reuter, L. & von Kopp, B. Springer Dordrecht Netherlands.
  • Harris, N. & Gorard, S. (2014). The Education System of the United Kingdom: Developments post 2008. In Education Systems of Europe. Döbert, H., Hörner, W., von Kopp, B. & Reuter, L. Springer Dordrecht, Netherlands.
  • Gorard, S. (2014). The potential determinants of educational disadvantage. In Harnessing what works in eliminating disadvantage: a tale of two classrooms. Wood, C. & Scott, R. London, DEMOS.
  • Gorard, S. (2013). An argument concerning overcoming inequalities in Higher Education. In Aspirations, Access and attainment n Widening Participation: International Perspectives and an Agenda for Change. Murray, N. & Klinger, C. Routledge: London.
  • Gorard, S. & Makopolou, K. (2012). Is mixed methods the natural approach to research?. In Reearch Methods in Physical Education and Yough Sport. Armour, K. & Macdonald, D. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 106-119.
  • Gorard, S. (2012). Multiple linear regression made simple. In Research Methodologies and Methods in Education. Coe, R., Arthur, J., Hedges, L. & Waring, M. London: Sage.
  • Gorard, S. (2012). Simple Statistical and correlational Research. In Research Methodologies and Methods in Education. Coe, R. & Arthur, J. London: Sage.
  • Gorard, S. (2011). Are Academies working? In The State and Education Policy. Gunter, H. London: Continuum.
  • Gorard, S & See, B H (2008). The impact of SES on participation and attainment in science - a review of existing literature. In Exploring the relationship between socio-economic status and participation and attainment in science education. Royal Society. 22-29.
  • Gorard, S, See, B H & Smith, E (2008). The impact of SES on participation and attainment in science - an analysis of available data. In Exploring the relationship between socio-economic status and participation and attainment in science education. Royal Society. 10-21

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