WISERD Director
Cardiff University

Prior to joining the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University in 2004 as a Professorial Fellow, Sally Power was based at the Institute of Education, University of London, where she was Head of the School of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies and Director of the Education Policy Research Unit. Before that she also worked at the Universities of Bristol, Warwick and West of England. 

Her research interests focus on the relationship between education, civil society and inequality, and particularly social class differentiation, as well as the relative success and failure of education policies designed to promote greater equality of opportunity.

Alongside her role as Director of WISERD, she co-directs the WISERDEducation Multi-Cohort Study (WMCS) and an ESRC project on ‘Excluded Lives’ which, in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, and the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford, examines the nature of school exclusions across the UK.  She is also a Theme Leader within the ESRC/WISERD Civil Society Research Centre.

She is an elected fellow of the Learned Society for Wales and the Academy of Social Sciences.

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)
Patronage, elites and power relations
Patronage, elites and power relations explores systems of patronage within civil society and the connections between civil society, civic stratification and elite formation. It considers the origins and destinations of patrons in civil society organisations and institutions
Research Team:
Jesse Heley (Aberystwyth University), Sally Power (Cardiff University), Amy Sanders (Aberystwyth University), Flossie Kingsbury (Aberystwyth 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)
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)
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)
Tracking the progress of Assisted Place holders thirty years on
Overview The Assisted Places Scheme was introduced in 1980 by the Conservative Government in order to provide a ‘ladder of opportunity’ for academically able students from poor homes. Over the next 17 years, more than 75,000 pupils received means-tested assistance from
Research Team:
Sally Power (Cardiff University), Stuart Sims
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
Evaluation of the Pupil Deprivation Grant
Overview The Pupil Deprivation Grant was introduced in 2012-13 and provides schools with additional resource to raise levels of achievement of a particular group of economically disadvantaged learners. This two-year evaluation looked at how schools have used this new grant
Research Team:
Rhys Davies (Cardiff University), Gareth Rees (Cardiff University), Sally Power (Cardiff University), Samuel Waldron, Mirain Rhys (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
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)
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
Reports and Briefings
The Rise and Fall of Think Tanks in Wales
Foreword This insightful and informative report makes an important contribution to our understanding of think tanks in Wales. It might be argued that we are living at a time when there has never been more interest in politics – in how decisions made in Brussels, Westminster...
February 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
Online Seminar Series Findings from the latest sweep of the WISERDEducation Multi-Cohort Study
5th October 2021 |
Presented by Catherine Foster and Laura Arman This seminar will present the latest findings from Sweep 9 of the WISERDEducation Multi-Cohort Study (WMCS). During the summer team of 2021, nearly 1000 young people in Welsh secondary schools responded...
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...
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...
Conference Changing Wales: WISERD at 10
17th October 2018 |
The Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) will be celebrating ten years of research that has helped address some of the key social challenges facing Wales on Wednesday 17th October. This invitation only event will...
Conference Trust-Transparency Paradoxes
4th May 2018 |
This free one day conference explores the overarching theme of trust-transparency paradoxes. The conference panels are organised on:- 1. The relationship between trust and transparency in a context of multi-level governance: 2. The links between...
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...