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
New support for dementia research in Wales

20th April 2017

WISERD welcomes the news that Cardiff has been chosen as one of the locations for the UK’s largest dementia research initiative. Social scientists at WISERD, based at Cardiff University, are already focusing on finding strategies to live well with dementia.


WISERD presents research on higher education and civil society at Public Uni event

6th April 2017

Last Friday evening, Dr Ceryn Evans presented her research on higher education and civil society at Public Uni’s 15th event at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. Public Uni is an event organised by Cardiff University and aims to provide researchers with an opportunity to communicate their research in engaging, bite-sized ‘chunks’ to a ‘lay audience’. Each presenter has just 10 minutes to talk about their research, using only props or pictures to help them.


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