Academic Director, SPARK
Cardiff University

Chris is Professor of Social Sciences at Cardiff University and is the Academic Director of the Cardiff University Social Science Research Park (SPARK). Prior to this he was a Co-Director of the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD).

Chris has published extensively on a wide range of educational and social issues and has undertaken research across all education sectors, from early years to higher education. This has included government-funded evaluations of the Foundation Phase for all 3-7 year olds in Wales, the Pupil Development Grant and the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification, an ESRC Fellowship studying the geography of growing up in the UK and an ESRC Large Grant on the political economy of school exclusions across the UK. He recently established the WISERD Education Data Lab, utilising education administrative data to support education priorities in Wales and helps convene the annual WISERD Education Multi-Cohort Study (WMCS). He is also part of the PISA 2021 team for England and Wales, working with the University of Oxford and Pearson. Chris is also a member of the ESRC Large Centre on Civil Society in WISERD, leading on a number of work packages on civil society including the impact of graduates on civil society, the intergenerational transmission of civic attitudes and engagement, the role of grandparents in children’s formative years and the opportunities and barriers to children’s participation in civil society.

Excluded Lives
Excluded Lives is a multi-disciplinary project across the four jurisdictions of the UK led by the Department of Education at the University of Oxford and in partnership with the universities of Oxford, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Queen’s Belfast, and the LSE. The overarching aim of
Research Team:
Sally Power (Cardiff University), Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Foteini Tseliou (Cardiff University)
Continuity of learning in Wales: ‘Live’ analysis of digital learning
Summary Wales is unique in having a national digital platform for online teaching and learning – Hwb ( This means that all children in maintained schools in Wales login to and use Hwb to access learning materials provided to them by schools and
Research Team:
Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Rhys Davies (Cardiff University), Jennifer May Hampton (Cardiff University), Samuel Jones (Cardiff University), Catriona Dickson (Cardiff University)
Children and young people’s rights: formal and informal constructions of citizenship
Children and young people’s rights: formal and informal constructions of citizenship utilises an international comparison of the civic expansion of children’s rights in four Western countries (including Wales), and how this can rebalance the civic deficits associated with
Research Team:
Esther Muddiman (Cardiff University), Sally Power (Cardiff University), Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Rhian Powell (Cardiff University)
WISERD Education Data Lab
The aim of the WISERD Education Data Lab is to generate high quality research-based evidence to help inform and challenge our understanding of educational processes and outcomes to support the Wales education sector meet the aims of Education in Wales: our national mission
Research Team:
Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Jennifer May Hampton (Cardiff University), Martijn Hogerbrugge (Cardiff University), Foteini Tseliou (Cardiff University), Alexandra Sandu (Cardiff University)
The changing frontiers of the state and civil society in education: a comparative analysis of France and Wales
This project, facilitated through WISERD and the Ecole Normale Superieure, Lyon, is exploring the contrasting relationship between education, the state and civil society in Wales and France. France and the UK provide two important contexts in which to explore these issues as
Research Team:
Sally Power (Cardiff University), Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Daniel Frandji (TRIANGLE), Philippe Vitale (LAMES-MMSH, AMU)
Development of the new curriculum in Pioneer schools
Research Questions How are Pioneer Schools developing the new curriculum in a way which benefits all learners? What are Pioneer Schools doing to ensure that the implementation of the new curriculum benefits all learners, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds? What
Research Team:
Sally Power (Cardiff University), Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Nigel Newton (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
Administrative Data Research Centre Wales (ADRC)
About the Centre The main aim of ADRC WALES was to create a world-class administrative data research centre, known for its ability to access, link and make safe use of data for high quality research. Our work was underpinned by a robust Governance framework. ADRC Wales
Research Team:
Rhys Davies (Cardiff University), Katy Huxley (Cardiff University), Dora Pouliou, Ian Thomas (Cardiff University), Ian Rees Jones (Cardiff University), Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Peter Mackie (Cardiff University), Scott Orford (Cardiff University), David Blackaby (Swansea University), Foteini Tseliou (Cardiff University)
The intergenerational transmission of ‘civic virtues’: the role of the family in civil society engagement
Overview Within the social science literature, the relationship between the family and civil society is complex and contradictory. While some theories place the family as the cornerstone of civil society, others put the family firmly outside civil society. Indeed, it is
Research Team:
Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Sally Power (Cardiff University), Esther Muddiman (Cardiff University), Kate Moles (Cardiff University)
Evaluation of Foundation Phase Flexibility Pilots
Overview Supporting children in their early years is seen as central to reforms to improve educational standards and raise the educational achievement of children in Wales, particularly amongst children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The distinct and
Research Team:
Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Mirain Rhys (Cardiff Metropolitan University), Samuel Waldron, Daniel Evans (Cardiff University)
KLiC Project – Biomapping: Methodological Trials
Summary and Rationale This project explored the (bio)physical and emotional relationships between people and place. By using state of the art galvanic skin response units alongside geographical positioning technology, this project sought to map (bio)physical records of human
Research Team:
Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Jon Anderson (Cardiff University)
Growing Up in 21st Century Britain
Overview Professor Chris Taylor was awarded an ESRC Mid-Career Development Fellowship to carry out an analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). The Economic and Social Research Centre (ESRC) awards only 10 to 15 Mid-Career Development Fellowships each year. They are
Research Team:
Chris Taylor (Cardiff University)
Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to Higher Education
The overall aim of the proposed research was to demonstrate the effectiveness of the secondary analysis of administrative data-sets to delineate patterns of participation in higher education (HE) and, thereby, to contribute to the development of policy and professional
Research Team:
Gareth Rees (Cardiff University), Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Rhys Davies (Cardiff University), Stephen Drinkwater (University of Roehampton), Ceryn Evans (Cardiff University), Caroline Wright
An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in Wales
The National Equality Panel’s report An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK provided a milestone in our understanding of relationships between people’s characteristics and their financial position. Through detailed analysis of complex datasets, some newly available, it
Research Team:
Rhys Davies (Cardiff University), Stephen Drinkwater (University of Roehampton), Caroline Joll, Melanie Jones (Cardiff University), Huw Lloyd-Williams, Gerald Makepeace, Mamata Parhi (Swansea University), Alison Parken, Catherine Robinson (University of Kent), Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Victoria Wass
LINK-Wales: The Learning in Wales Network
Overview This project focused on increasing the engagement between local authorities and the higher education research community in Wales by reviewing current local authority education research capacity and activity in Wales and identifying factors that had an impact on
Research Team:
Sally Power (Cardiff University), Jamie Lewis (Cardiff University), Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Mark Connolly, Gerran Thomas, Susan Wyn Jones
Higher Education and Civil Society
Overview This project explored the relationships between participation in higher education and engagement in civil society, especially at the local level. Do university graduates play a distinctive role in the institutions of civil society? More specifically, it examined the
Research Team:
Gareth Rees (Cardiff University), Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Ceryn Evans (Cardiff University), Stuart Fox (Brunel University London)
Evaluating the Foundation Phase
WISERD undertook an independent evaluation of the Foundation Phase early years education policy for the Welsh Government. The Foundation Phase (FP) is an early intervention approach to learning for all children aged three to seven years in Wales. It is based on principles of
Research Team:
Chris Taylor (Cardiff University), Trisha Maynard, David Blackaby (Swansea University), Rhys Davies (Cardiff University), Laurence Moore, Ian Plewis, Sally Power (Cardiff University), Samuel Waldron, Mirain Rhys (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
Journal Articles
School exclusions in Wales: policy discourse and policy enactment
This paper contributes to our growing understanding of the processes underpinning contrasting rates of school exclusions both within and across the different jurisdictions of the UK. Wales is often compared favourably to its larger neighbour England, where rates of permanent...
Education | March 2021
Books and Book Chapters
Civil Society through the Lifecourse
Are young people blindly self-interested? How does university shape students’ political participation? Can busy parents and grandparents find time to volunteer? Challenging conventional thinking, leading academics explore how individuals’ relationships with civil society...
Civil Society | October 2020
Working Paper
Trust-transparency paradoxes: proceedings of an international conference
This short publication presents the main proceedings of an international conference held at Sciences Po Lyon, France, on 4 May 2018. The symposium pulled together several research initiatives around the central theme of trust–transparency paradoxes. Trust (and its corollary...
Journal Articles
Civil Society: Bringing the family back in
This paper explores the complex and contradictory positioning of the family within civil society literature. In some accounts, the family is seen as the cornerstone of civil society. In others, the family is positioned firmly outside – even antithetical to – civil society...
Civil Society | February 2018
Reports and Briefings
Evaluating the Foundation Phase: Key findings on practitioner and stakeholder views on the future of the Foundation Phase
The Foundation Phase (introduced in 2008) provides a developmentally appropriate experiential curriculum for children aged 3-7 in Wales. The Welsh Government commissioned independent evaluation (led by WISERD) aims to evaluate how well it is being implemented, what impact it...
Reports and Briefings
Is there a crisis in Welsh education?
The current state of Welsh education has become a matter of widespread concern inrecent years. Certainly, many of those outside Wales have formed a view of Welsheducation that is extremely unfavourable.
Education | December 2013
Journal Articles
Qualitative Researcher: Issue 10
This is issue 10 of the Cardiff University Qualitative Researcher. It contains the following articles: Looking Back and Moving Forward Amanda Coffey Using Unconventional Media to Disseminate Qualitative Research Bella Dicks Rachel Hurdley Hearing the City: Reflections on...
Data & Methods | June 2009
Seminar Civil Society and Social Change- Book launch
5th November 2020 |
Join us to celebrate the launch of the Policy Press WISERD Civil Society and Social Change book series. This new series provides interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives on the rapidly changing nature of civil society at local, regional...
Cardiff Lunchtime Seminar The political economy of school exclusions
22nd October 2019 |
Presented by Chris Taylor , Cardiff University . This seminar is part of the Cardiff WISERD Lunchtime Seminar series. If you are an external guest, please contact us (029 2087 9338) to confirm availability of places. For further information please...
Cardiff Lunchtime Seminar Grandparents, grandchildren, and the development of helping behaviours
19th February 2019 |
Presented by Jennifer Hampton , Cardiff University . This seminar is part of the Cardiff WISERD Lunchtime Seminar series. If you are an external guest, please contact us (029 2087 9338) to confirm availability of places. For further information...
Seminar Growing up in Wales: young people’s perspectives and prospects
28th November 2018 |
Over the past six years, the WISERDEducation Multi Cohort Study (WMCS) has made an important contribution to understanding the lives of young people in Wales, by conducting an annual survey of over 1,000 young people, aged eight to 18-years-old. A...
Conference Symposium: Family and Civil Society: across the generations
20th November 2018 |
Hosted by WISERD, this one day symposium will explore the role of the family in civil society engagement and the significance of intergenerational transmission in relation to political participation, trade unions and Euroscepticism. The day will also...
The Role of the Family in Civil Society
11th October 2017 |
Open to: Public, staff and students Presenters: Dr Kate Miles, Dr Esther Muddiman, Professor Sally Power and Professor Chris Taylor (Cardiff University) In much of the literature, the family is positioned firmly outside - even antithetical to - civil...
Conference Young People and Brexit - One year on
22nd June 2017 |
How are young people feeling about and responding to Brexit, and how will it affect their participation in the 2017 General Election? The call for papers is now open for our one-day conference that will consider these important questions. We will...
Cardiff Lunchtime Seminar Evaluation of the Pupil Deprivation Grant in Wales
15th December 2015 |
This event was part of the WISERD Cardiff lunchtime seminar series which focuses on research currently being undertaken by WISERD researchers. Presented By: Chris Taylor
Seminar The Millennium Cohort Study
14th April 2015 |
Cardiff University
This event provided an overview of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) and its findings, with a specific focus on Wales.
Workshop Introductory Workshop to the Millennium Cohort Study in Wales
21st January 2014 |
Presented by: Chris Taylor, Cardiff University The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is a major UK-wide birth cohort study that began following over 19,000 children born between 2000 and 2001. This free workshop introduced the Millennium Cohort Study to...
Workshop Understanding Wales: Opportunities for Secondary Data Analysis
16th January 2012 |
Glamorgan Building. Cardiff University
This was one of a series of events, organised by ESDS, in support of the ESRC’s Secondary Data Analysis Initiative. These events were designed for researchers who are not current users of these ESRC-funded data resources, and who wish to apply for...