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
WISERD is part of the new Alzheimer’s Society Centre of Excellence

20th June 2017

Alzheimer’s Society has announced today (Tuesday 20 June) that it has committed almost £2million to the University of Exeter, as part of its biggest-ever single investment in dementia care research, which WISERD will be continuing to contribute to.


Latest findings from the Young People and Brexit project - 'revenge of the young remainers'?

14th June 2017

In light of the 2017 General Election, in which the youth vote became one of the defining features, Dr Stuart Fox and Dr Sioned Pearce update us on the latest findings from the Young People and Brexit project. Using new data, they discuss whether there really was a ‘youth surge’ in votes and whether this election really was the ‘revenge of the young remainers’?


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