Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Dr Rhian Barrance

Profile picture cropped.pngJob Title: Researcher

Institution: WISERD


Telephone: 029 20688723


I am a researcher in education and social sciences at the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research Data and Methods (WISERD). Prior to joining WISERD, I completed my PhD in Education at Queen's University Belfast. My PhD used a mixed-methods approach to identify students' views and experiences of GCSEs and their reform in Northern Ireland and Wales. I am a qualified teacher: before embarking on my PhD, I trained as an English teacher in Wales and taught at a secondary school in Belfast.

Research Interests

  • Assessment and qualifications
  • Children’s Rights
  • Equity in education
  • Education policy reform

Current Research

I am currently working on the WISERDEducation research project, which is a large-scale longitudinal cohort study which has been surveying pupils across Wales on aspects of their lives and education over the last four years. My research focus on this project relates to young people’s views and experiences of national assessments, particularly within the reformed GCSE in Wales. I am also interested in the role of private tutoring in students’ preparation for these qualifications.

Online Articles

Barrance, R. (2017) Climate change and poverty are as much of a threat as terrorism for many young people. The Conversation

Pearce, S. and Barrance, R. (2017) Young people and Brexit: will Brexit spark young people’s interest in devolved Welsh politics? WISERD blog.


Barrance, R. (2017). The assessment and reform of GCSEs: The views and experiences of young people in Northern Ireland and Wales. PhD Thesis. Queen’s University Belfast.

Elwood, J., Barrance, R., Hopfenbeck, T., Baird, J., Ryan, J., Paget, C., Brown, C., O’Boyle, A. (2015) Predictability in the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination: Teachers’ and Students’ Perspectives. Working Paper 4 [online]. Available at:

Barrance, R. (2015) The Effectiveness of Pre-entry Interventions for Widening Participation to Higher Education: a Literature Review. Report for the Widening Participation Unit at Queen’s University Belfast.



Latest News
Director of WISERD Education is Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

17th October 2017

Professor Sally Power, WISERD Co-Director and Director of WISERD Education has been conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.


Senedd motion on carbon emissions reduction based on WISERD work

6th October 2017

Government evaluation of a scheme developed by WISERD's Martin Burgess to reduce carbon emissions was debated at the National Assembly for Wales on Wednesday 4th October 2017.


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