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BERA Announces the 2023 Public Engagement and Impact Award Winner

The BERA Public Engagement and Impact Award recognises and celebrates the impact of research and practice in the education community and how both have demonstrably engaged the public.

The award is presented annually and is normally awarded to a team of researchers.

BERA is delighted to announce that the 2023 award has been presented to the University of Oxford’s Education Department “Effective Provision of Preschool, Primary and Secondary Education” (EPPSE) study team for their work  transforming Early Education policy and practice.

The EPPSE study demonstrates the potential of quality ECE and the early HLE to improve outcomes throughout the learning life course. This longitudinal study has provided the foundations for policy change including the provision of free ECE for millions of 2–4-year-olds across the globe – having significant impact internationally.

EPPSE began in 1997, when there was no statutory obligation for state universal provision of ECE for children under five in the UK. EPPSE assessed 3,000 pre-school children, including data from birth to the end of secondary school. The findings showed clear links between high quality ECE and improved outcomes, including ameliorating the effects of social disadvantage. It also provided new evidence on the longstanding influence of the early HLE. The follow-up Study of Early Education & Development (SEED) 2013 and the recent Children of the 2020s are tracking large samples of children in the new policy context that was shaped by EPPSE.

The pathways to impact have been embedded in other research designs copied from EPPSE, evidence-based training for practitioners (using scales influenced by EPPSE eg ECERS E & SSTEW), collaborative research with practitioners, participation in government policy in all UK countries, and advice to governments across high- and low-income countries, which has continued in the last 5 years. The research has recent publications and has been referenced in Parliamentary debates, government Research Strategies, National Childcare Strategies, Policy Reviews and international reports and ECE practice-up-lift agendas.

The project has had recent impact and engagement in the UK through parliamentary debates, policy reviews and citations. The DfE used the team’s research in the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage Curricular Framework 2021 with emphasis on pedagogical quality and guided play.

Members of the team continue to build on the research legacy of the study by working with and inspiring other research teams across the world such as in Australia, China, Germany, Norway and Singapore. In addition, the team has developed evidence-based resources such as quality rating scales and professional development studies and their evaluations, which are taking place in the UK and abroad, support practitioners and policy makers to advance systems which prioritise quality uplift.

Congratulations to the team members

Effective Provision of Preschool, Primary and Secondary Education study team

Iram Siraj, Professor

Professor at University of Oxford & University of Maynooth

Iram has an international reputation for longitudinal research and policy expertise, she has co-directed a number of influential studies, including the Effective Provision of Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE, DfE, 1997-2015)...

Profile picture of Kathy Sylva
Kathy Sylva, Professor

Higher education professor at University of Oxford

After earning a PhD at Harvard University Kathy moved to Oxford where she taught Psychology while serving on the Oxford Pre-school Research Group which was led by Jerome Bruner. Her book Childwatching at Playgroup and Nursery School broke new...

Profile picture of Pamela Sammons
Pamela Sammons, Professor Emeritus

Emeritus Professor at University of Oxford

Pam Sammons is a Professor of Education at the Department of Education, University of Oxford and a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford. Previously she was a professor at the School of Education, University of Nottingham (2004-2009)...