Department of Education

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This session is an introduction to the forthcoming Special Issue: ‘Diaspora and Internationalisation in Higher Education’ in British Journal of Educational Studies, which is an outcome of the BAICE Thematic Forum held in 2019 and 2020.

Paul Morris will introduce both the forthcoming Special Issue in BJES, on which this Seminar is based and the three speakers who will present their papers.

Annette will explore recent developments in diaspora theorization in the humanities and social sciences. She will connect this burgeoning body of literature with internationalisation in higher education, presenting insights from a systematic review on the current role of diaspora in internationalisation and higher education research. She will conclude by indicating the potential of diaspora for theorizing different forms of internationalisation.

Terri’s talk will be on ‘diaspora, ethnic internationalism and HE internationalisation’ by separating ‘nation’ and ‘state’ and with a critical appropriation of diasporic subjectivity and institutions from a comparative historical perspective. She will take the Korean and Jewish cases as examples of stateless nations in the early 20th century (Kim and Bamberger, 2021 forthcoming), to explain the notion of ‘ethnic internationalism’ and the role of ‘ethnonational diaspora’ in forming and internationalising HE in the absence of a supportive status apparatus and discuss its implications for the 21st century.

Fazal will consider how higher education is a site where internationalization has become a major driver for the formation of new diasporas. He will show how these diasporas use their training and ethnic networks to take advantage of the transnational space they occupy in an increasingly globalized economy.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).

Scholars in two fields of research, higher education and career development, have studied the characteristics and conditions that promote or constrain graduates’ career success. However, they have exchanged little theoretical or practical knowledge between them, despite their common interest in how students achieve positive career and employment outcomes.

This presentation illustrates these parallel research agendas with visualisations of direct citation networks among graduate employability and career development research. Michael will describe the disciplinary landscapes that the citation networks reveal, identify themes within both fields of research, and identify areas in which some exchange is beginning to happen.

This presentation will conclude with an argument that purposeful exchange between the two fields will enrich both, informing an evidence-based, integrative pedagogy of careers and employability learning in higher education.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).


Jenni Ingram, University of Oxford

The science behind our social interactions and talk in our everyday lives is a growing area of research that can have profound effects on practice. Conversation Analysis focuses on how we use words in our everyday interactions to achieve different things. Research using CA has included the analysis of interactions in pedagogic contexts including classrooms, tutorials and supervisions, but also other institutional contexts including doctor-patient consultations, news interviews, dispute negotiation and police interrogations.  This research has illustrated and explained how asking questions, making requests and giving information can be done in different ways, where these different ways may involve just small changes but can have a huge effect how others respond.


Part of the Pedagogy, Learning, and Knowledge Research Theme Seminar Series.

Please register ahead of the webinar at this link.

Dr Gabriella Conti

Early intervention programmes can play an important role in improving children’s health and their cognitive and socio-emotional development. While existing evidence demonstrates the potential benefits that these programmes can have, particularly for the most disadvantaged, much less is known about the factors that drive effectiveness in scaled-up programmes.

In this paper, we investigate the important but under-researched question of workforce quality within the context of the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP). This is a large-scale home-visiting programme in England targeting first-time teenage mothers, which has previously shown benefits for children’s cognitive development (Robling et al., 2015). For identification, we exploit a unique feature of the assignment process of the family nurses to the clients within the FNP teams.

Conditional on a small set of variables governing the assignment process, nurses were assigned to clients to equalise caseloads within teams. We present evidence that, for a wide range of client and nurse characteristics, there is no systematic relationship between clients and nurses conditional on these assignment variables. We then present results on the effects of family nurse quality on the cognitive, socio-emotional and health outcomes of the child.

First, we find evidence of substantial heterogeneity. A one-standard deviation (SD) increase in family nurse quality leads to a 0.22 SD increase in birthweight, to a 0.25 SD increase in child’s cognition at age 2, and to a 0.29 SD increase in child’s socio-emotional development at age 2. We also show a strong correlation between nurse effectiveness for different outcomes; of the nurses who are in the top quintile of effectiveness in boosting cognitive development, almost half are in the top quintile for socio-emotional development. We also find evidence that nurses can improve maternal mental health and reduce unhealthy behaviours, potentially mediating their effect on children.

However, despite a very rich set of characteristics such as demographics, training, experience and qualifications, we can only explain between 10 and 15% of this variation in family nurse effectiveness. These results are reminiscent of the literature on teacher quality, where observable characteristics have little power in explaining variation in teacher’s value-added. Our results show that the quality of the workforce matters, and that we are just starting to understand its determinants.

Please register ahead of the webinar at this link.

Dr Matt Dickson

We compare estimates of the effects of education on health and health behaviour using two distinct natural experiments in the UK Biobank data. One is based on a widely used policy reform while the other, known as Mendelian randomization (MR), uses genetic variation. The policy reform is the raising of the minimum school leaving age (RoSLA) from 15 to 16 which took place in the UK in 1972.

MR exploits germline genetic variation that associates with educational attainment and is a strategy widely used in epidemiology and clinical sciences. Under the assumption of monotonicity, these approaches identify distinct local average treatment effects (LATEs), with potentially different sets of compliers. The RoSLA affected the amount of education for those at the lower end of the education distribution whereas MR affects individuals across the entire distribution.

We find that estimates using each approach are remarkably congruent for a wide range of health outcomes. Effect sizes of additional years of education thus seem to be similar across the distribution. Our study highlights the usefulness of MR as a source of instrumental variation in education.

Please register ahead of the webinar at this link.

Dr Sandra Mathers

Theory suggests that effective real-time decision-making in classrooms requires teachers to have flexible access to rich and well-organised knowledge of effective teaching practices. Yet prior research on the role and importance of procedural knowledge has been equivocal. This exploratory study used a new video measure of procedural knowledge to examine relationships with observed classroom quality, and establish which opportunities to learn (qualifications, professional development, classroom experience) predict greater knowledge. It focused on preschool teachers’ knowledge of oral language pedagogy, on the basis that early language provides the foundation for children’s later learning. The sample comprised 104 teachers participating in a wider RCT, designed to evaluate a professional development intervention. Teachers were shown two short videos of classroom interactions and asked to identify instances of effective practice. Responses were coded to capture three facets: perceiving (the ability to identify salient language-supporting strategies); naming (the use of specific professional vocabulary to describe interactions); and interpreting (the ability to interpret the interactions observed). The three facets could be empirically distinguished. Explicit and higher-order procedural knowledge (naming, interpreting) most strongly predicted classroom quality. Formal learning opportunities were stronger predictors of procedural knowledge than classroom experience. Intervention effects on classroom quality were mediated by knowledge. Implications for workforce development are discussed.

Please register ahead of the webinar at this link.

Professor Alice Sullivan

This paper examines the relationship between parents’ and children’s language skills for a nationally representative birth cohort born in the United Kingdom-the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). We investigate both socioeconomic and ethnic differentials in children’s vocabulary scores and the role of differences in parents’ vocabulary scores in accounting for these. We find large vocabulary gaps between highly educated and less educated parents, and between ethnic groups. Nevertheless, socioeconomic and ethnic gaps in vocabulary scores are far wider among the parents than among their children. Parental vocabulary is a powerful mediator of inequalities in offspring’s vocabulary scores at age 14, and also a powerful driver of change in language skills between the ages of five and 14. Once we account for parental vocabulary, no ethnic minority group of young people has a negative “vocabulary gap” compared to whites.

Please register ahead of the webinar at this link.

Dr Jo Blanden

School closures have been one of the most dramatic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on society. Concerns about the impact of school closures on children’s learning were raised early on in the pandemic and work continues to mitigate lost learning. There is also widespread concern about the detrimental impact of the pandemic on children’s mental wellbeing, but there are likely to be a number of mechanisms at work here, including parents’ employment situation, anxiety about relatives’ health and social isolation. We specifically examine the role of school closures in England on the emotional and behavioural wellbeing of children aged 5-11, as measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) in the UK Household Longitudinal Study.


This presentation will explore the importance of the estate to universities. For decades, assertions have been made about the influence and importance of estates and facilities for the physical, social and reputational capitals of universities across the United Kingdom. Even so, little empirical research and evidence has been offered to support these assertions and the relationship of estates to university operations, management, policy, planning and practice.

Drawing on existing literature and research from the United Kingdom, this presentation will address the paucity of research and expore the position, threats and opportunities for university estates now and into the near future. A brief review of current issues and themes relating to university estates will ground the discussion. After, we will review the impacts and implications of events such as Covid-19 and trends in international student demand for post-compulsory education, student mobility, student numbers and advancements in educational technologies for university estates across the United Kingdom. The estate plays a number of critical roles in university education. From labs to cafes, libraries to lecture halls, the physical environment of universities is vital to teaching, learning and research. Estates and facilities influence institutional policies, planning and practice across stakeholder groups.

This presentation will explore how the estate acts as a physical and social anchor for universities. From policy to planning, practice to provision; the estate is as vital as ever to the operations and management of universities throughout the United Kingdom. While concepts such as space, place and displacement feature in literature and research on the drivers, debates and tensions influenced by estates and facilities continue to feature in access, participation, recruitment and retention, feedback and representation for facilities based university education in the United Kingdom. This presentation will look at how recent trends, issues and themes hold threats, opportunities and obligations for the present and near future of university estates throughout the United Kingdom (and beyond).

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).