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Professor in the School of Education+44 (0) 191 33 48323
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing+44 (0) 191 33 48419


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 Education, ESRC Commissioning Panel for Research Seminars and Strategic Networks, the ESRC Research Methods Programme, 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.

How good are value-added measures of teacher performance? A review and empirical investigation using data from Turkey. 

A Consideration of Cooperative Learning to Enhance Pre-service Teachers’ Achievement in Tertiary English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Classrooms in Thailand.

Is Progress 8 a valid and reliable measure of school effectiveness?

Family, school and jobs: intergenerational social mobility in Next Steps.

Research interests

  • Durham University Evidence Centre for Education (DECE)
  • Education and social justice
  • Equity and effectiveness in lifelong education
  • Higher and Further Education
  • Quality of education research

Esteem Indicators

  • 2022: Most published/cited UK author in education Web of Science over the last 50 years, and top ten in the world:
  • 2022: Promotions panel member, University of Haifa:
  • 2022: Chair, Education Panel , Periodic Evaluation of Research (REF). Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic:
  • 2021: Grants reviewer for the William T Grant Foundation:
  • 2021: Evidence in Education Forum, Jordan Ministry of Education:
  • 2021: External examiner – British University of Dubai:
  • 2021: Reviewer for the Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) for Social Sciences and Humanities:
  • 2021: Visiting Professor, Plymouth Marjon University:
  • 2021: Adviser for Teach First and Mission 44, recruiting more Black STEM graduates:
  • 2021: Advisory Group on Disadvantaged pupils in England, EPI/Nuffield:
  • 2021: Promotions panel member, University of Haifa:
  • 2021: Panel member, The Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P. (FCT), Portugal:
  • 2021: Reviewer ESRC DTP Pathways:
  • 2021: Building Civic partnership in Hartlepool, Adviser Lead SRS compliance
  • 2020: Member Cabinet Office What Works Advice panel for civil servants, Prime Minister’s Implementation Unit:
  • 2020: Adviser to DfE Open Innovation Team on Teacher quality and supply:
  • 2019: Round Table, Future Perfect Education Commission, Parliament, 25/10/19:
  • 2019: Member, DfE Advisory Group for Holiday Activities and Food:
  • 2019: Ambassador, Ednorth Programme:
  • 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
  • 2015: ESRC Commissioning Panel: Seminar Series and Strategic Networks
  • 2014: Cabinet Office: Academic Advisory Panel
  • 2014: Education Select Committee: Invited to give oral evidence to the inquiry into the underachievement
    in education of White working class children
  • 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: Academies and Free Schools
  • 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: DfE: Analytical Associate
  • 2014: Grant Assessment Panel (Education): British Academy
  • 2013: Keynote Speech: Association for the Study of Medicine Annual Conference, London November
  • 2013: Overcoming disadvantage in education: Campaign for State Education Birmingham City University, October 2013
  • 2013: Meet the author: Durham Book Festival, 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: Teaching design as the basis for analysis: Keynote speech: HEA Re-energising undergraduate research methods pedagogy,
    Liverpool, June 2013
  • 2013: Making research real: Keynote speech: NATCEN Learning Conference, Cardiff, June 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: Closing the gaps: Plenary panel member, Schools NE Rising to the Challenge Summit S James'
    Park, Newcastle, October 2013
  • 2013: Chair and Opening Address: Policy Knowledge Raising Educational Attainment Policy Briefing, London,
    February 2013
  • 2013: Invited address on Questioning P4C: SAPERE Annual Conference, Birmingham
  • 2013: Tackling poverty: Welsh Government, Cardiff, March 2013
  • 2013: Why mix methods? Keynote speech: White Rose DTC Annual Conference, Leeds, May 2013


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Supervision students