Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Beng Huat See, PhD

Associate Professor (Research) in the School of Education

(email at b.h.see@durham.ac.uk)

Affiliate of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education


Beng Huat joined Durham University School of Education in October 2013. Previously she was a researcher at the University of York before moving to the University of Birmingham where she was involved in a wide range of research from character education, developing critical thinking skills, to systematic reviews and rigorous evaluations of programmes. Her research interests are wide and varied, but stems mainly from her desire to help children of all ages, gender, abilities and ethnicity to enjoy school and to achieve their full potential. Her research findings have made important impacts on research decisions taken by the Education Endowment Foundation, TeachFirst and/or the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office in relation to the use of the pupil premium and the transition from year 6 to year 7 at school. For example the JRF review of studies exploring the causal links between attitudes, aspirations and behaviour, and educational outcome has been included in the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills (Yr Adran Addysg a Sgiliau) range of high quality resources and materials. Beng Huat’s career began as a secondary school teacher in Singapore where she taught geography, English and social studies for 16 years. For seven years she headed the humanities department and was also the chief editor of her school publications. She was also the school’s pastoral care and career guidance co-ordinator. In 1994 she completed her Masters in Education at Cardiff University specialising in education management and TEFL, having had an RSA diploma in TESOL from the British Council. She spent 3 years teaching GCSE and A-level geography in an FE college in South Wales. In 2000 she undertook her doctorate degree investigating the determinants of teacher supply and demand, the findings of which have led to two submissions to the House of Commons Select Committee (House of Commons fifth report of session 2003-2004; http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmeduc/1515/1515we06.htm).

In her spare time Beng Huat enjoys painting, specialising in landscape and abstract painting. Although most of her paintings are in acrylic and watercolour, she also enjoys charcoal portrait drawings. Most of her paintings feature parks and woods in the Midlands. Some of her pieces have been exhibited and sold at charity events.

Information for Potential Doctoral Students

Beng Huat is looking for potential doctoral students interested in investigating the teacher supply issue (teacher recruitment, teacher retention, routes into teaching)

Completed Research Projects

  • Review on the formal links between affective and academic outcomes (TeachFirst £4,000)
  • Review of evidence of literacy ‘catch-up’ during transition to secondary school (EEF £13,686)
  • Developing a Critical Appraisal diagnostic tool for improving critical reading among doctoral researchers in the Social Sciences (Advanced Social Science Collaboration, University of Birmingham £3,200)
  • Systematic review of international intervention studies and UK-based values and aspirations literature (DfES £39k
  • Systematic review of factors that drive post-16 participation of ethnic minority groups (DfES £25k)
  • Systematic reviews in education: methodological challenges (York University pump priming grant £3k)
  • A scoping analysis of school exclusions in England (York University pump priming grant (£1k)
  • Secondary data analysis of the supply and retention of teachers in Wales (General Teaching Council £15k)

Indicators of Esteem

  • Editor of British Educational Research Journal, Review of Education and Educational Research and Evaluation:
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA):
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts :
  • Invited to give a talk on overcoming disadvantage in education for Campaign for State Education Birmingham City University, October 2013:
  • Invited to present findings to the Castle Vale Education Trust and the Sutton Trust on engagement with local community to improve the outcomes of children in the Castle Vale area.:
  • Invited to speak to the Campaign for State Education group, Birmingham City University on Overcoming disadvantage in education. :
  • Invited to submit evidence to the House of Commons on attracting and retaining quality teachers:
  • Member of the Committee on Publication Ethics, Wiley (COPE):
  • Member of the ESRC Peer Review College:
  • Panel peer reviewer of trials for the Education Endowment Foundation:
  • Peer reviewer for: Oxford Review of Education, Educational Review, Journal of Education for Teaching, BERJ, Higher Education Quarterly, Studies in Higher Education and Global Education Review, Journal of Adolescence Educational Review, Educational Psych:
  • Research proposal evaluator for the National Center of Science & Technology Evaluation (NCSTE) of Kazakhstan:
  • Routledge Author of the Month :


Research Interests

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Parental involvement
  • Teacher demand and supply
  • Interventions to overcome education disadvantage
  • Attainment and participation in STEM subjects

Research Groups

Research Projects

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Andrews, R., Torgerson, C.J. & See, B.H. (2009). Discipline-specific skills in argumentation. In Argumentation in Higher Education: Improving Practice through Research. Andrews, R. Routledge/Falmer: New York.
  • 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
  • Prior, L, Pang, L C & See, B H (2002). Beliefs and accounts of illness: views from two Cantonese-speaking communities in England. In The sociology of health and illness reader. Nettleton, S & Gustafsson, U Polity Press.

Other (Digital/Visual Media)


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