Skip to content


Making the Case for the Social Sciences – Education

BERA has partnered with the Academy of Social Sciences and Routledge, Taylor & Francis to bring together a wide-ranging collection of impactful research on education that has improved standards of individual attainment and school quality, while also influencing public policy. ‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences 12 – Education’ comprises 12 case studies that have led to improvements in learning and teaching practices. Studies featured in the booklet also demonstrate the positive impacts of social science and educational research on public policy, while highlighting its benefit to society more generally.

Some research in the booklet:

  • Improving reading comprehension – This research examined what skills are needed for successful comprehension, devised new strategies for teachers to use to better teach reading comprehension, and helped better identify children in need of additional help. The findings have since directly influenced England’s National Curriculum, English Programmes of Study, Key stages 1 and 2.
  • Improving struggling schools – In order to meet government objectives of realising aspirations for social mobility, research was undertaken into ‘coasting schools.’ This found overrepresentation of disadvantaged pupils in ‘Satisfactory’ schools, and led to changes in grading systems to increase inspections and to focus policy attention on improving these schools and the overrepresentation of working class pupils in poorer quality schools

Other topics include:

  • Overcoming gaps in Higher Education participation by socio-economic background
  • Educating about diversity, identity and Britishness
  • Identifying policy and practice barriers to close the poverty-related attainment gap
  • Improving young children’s attitudes towards cultural diversity
  • Helping parents support children’s learning in a digital world
  • How skills strategies are reshaping the global economy and the impact on education

This is the 12th in the series Making the Case for the Social Sciences. The AcSS launched the series in 2010 in order to showcase the impact that is continually being made by excellent UK social science research. They have produced issues on topics as diverse as dementia care, crime, ageing, management, longitudinal studies and climate change. These booklets are a ‘taster selections’ of stories about social science research that has made a real difference to policy or practice.

The publication can be downloaded from BERA’s website here and was launched at a high profile event of the House of Commons, featuring contributions from leading BERA members, MPs, Peers and others.

More related content