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Literacy and Numeracy amongst A-level and non A-level students: Higher Education Attainment (Fairbrass U19WP)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, February 28, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The University of East Anglia and Norwich Business School are delighted to announce the availability of a fully funded PhD scholarship centred around the issue of “Literacy and numeracy amongst A-level and non-A level students: Higher Education Attainment”. We seek applicants who are passionate about education, widening participation and research.

Rationale and significance of the research
The recently developed and introduced ‘Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) is a national exercise, introduced by the UK Government in England. It assesses ‘excellence’ in teaching at universities and colleges. Of particular importance is the TEF’s focus on six key performance indicators: non-continuation rates; employment destinations; highly skilled employment; academic support; assessment and feedback; and teaching quality. The doctoral research will focus on UEA students with the aim of collecting data relating to the educational achievement of students prior to entry to their degree course and the possible connections between pre-degree entry skills and attainment in terms of degree outcome along with employment destinations on graduation.

Research Methodology
The proposed study will adopt a mixed methods approach employing both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and analysis.

This is a Supervisor-led PhD and the student will benefit from mentoring and training from two experienced researchers. The students will also be expected to avail themselves of the training provided in-house by the UEA for researchers. The student will receive the normal academic training associated with undertaking a PhD that would enable them to succeed in obtaining their PhD and embarking on an academic career.

Person specification
We seek candidates who possess a higher degree (Masters level) in social sciences. Subjects could include Management Studies, Economics, Politics, Sociology or Education. Candidates should have skills in both quantitative and qualitative data handling and have experience of conducting independent research (e.g. a dissertation).

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:
The type of programme: PhD
The start date of the project: Oct 2019
The mode of study: full-time
Entry requirement: acceptable first degree in Management Studies, Economics, Politics, Sociology or Education and minimum 2:1.

Funding Notes

This studentship is being funded by UEA, as part of UEA’s commitment to the Office for Students to supporting Widening Participation. This studentship is funded for 3 years and comprises home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,777 and £1,000 per annum to support research training. International students are welcome to apply, but will need to meet the difference between Home and International fees.


Greenbank, P. (2006) The Evolution of Government Policy on Widening Participation. Higher Education Quarterly, 60 (2). pp. 140-165.

Gorard, S., Smith, E., Thomas, L., Adnett, N & Slack, K. (2006) Review of Widening Participation Research: addressing the barriers to participation in Higher Education, Bristol: HEFCE:

Harrison, N. (2011). Have the changes introduced by the 2004 Higher Education Act made higher education admissions in England wider and fairer? Journal of Education Policy, 26(3), pp.449-468.

Hoelscher, M., Hayward, G., Ertl, H. and Dunbar‐Goddet, H. (2008). The transition from vocational education and training to higher education: a successful pathway? Research Papers in Education, 23(2), pp.139-151.

Pokorny M & Pokorny H. (2005) Widening participation in higher education: student quantitative skills and independent learning as impediments to progression, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 36:5, 445-467

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