Institute of Education


VIRTUAL EVENT: Equalising opportunities in post-16 progression in England

11 March 2021, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Empty exam hall

This webinar will explore research funded by the Nuffield Foundation, which looks at the characteristics and post-16 trajectories of young people who miss out on the key benchmarks of GCSE maths and English at grades 9-4 (formerly A*-C).

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Katie Rychliski

This group is too often overlooked in the policy focus on raising GCSE attainment and improving access to higher education. 

In this event, Ruth Lupton and her team will illuminate the heterogeneity of this large group in terms of their prior achievements. They will show how groups with different achievements fare in navigating the complex landscape of post-16 provision in England. 

One of their objectives is to increase the visibility of characteristics and experiences of young people who are too often defined by what they have not achieved, and to show how their opportunities for post-16 progression could be improved. 

The team will also argue that tackling inequalities in the post-16 phase cannot be done without improvements in data and research capacity and will discuss ideas on how this might be done.

CEPEO seminar series

The Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO) hosts a research seminar series where guest speakers present cutting edge research. 

Join policymakers, researchers and practitioners to explore the pressing questions of our time in education policy and equalising opportunities.


About the Speakers

Ruth Lupton

Honorary Professor of Education at the University of Manchester

Ruth’s research focuses on UK poverty and inequality, particularly in relation to education and spatial inequalities. Before joining the University of Manchester in 2013, she was Deputy Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE. 

Ruth also worked at the IOE for four years in the 2000s.

Her recent work includes a review of the Conservatives’ record on compulsory education since 2015 with Polina Obolenskaya, a forthcoming book on 'Great Mistakes in Education Policy: and how to avoid them in the future' (with Debra Hayes, Policy Press April 2021), and leadership of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation funded Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit at the University of Manchester.  

Ruth is interested in local approaches to poverty and inequality and is currently a member of the Greater Manchester Independent Inequalities Commission chaired by Professor Kate Pickett.

Sanne Velthuis

Research Associate at the University of Manchester

Sanne’s research interests include young people in further education and the labour market, as well as issues surrounding low pay and progression, and spatial inequalities in employment, skills and opportunities.

She completed her PhD at Coventry University before moving to the University of Manchester, where she has researched young people’s education and training transitions, as well as processes of neighbourhood change.

In her current role, she has researched the employment trajectories of low-paid workers in the UK.

Lorna Unwin

Professor Emerita (Vocational Education) and Honorary Professorial Fellow at LLAKES research centre at the UCL Institute of Education, London.

Lorna is also Honorary Professorial Research Fellow at the School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, and Honorary Fellow of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

She has conducted many studies of post-school education and vocational and workplace training and recently conducted a comparative study of aerospace engineering apprentices in England and Germany with colleagues at the University of Cologne.

She has also been working with Ruth Lupton on studies of the education and training infrastructure in Greater Manchester.

Her recent books include ‘Contemporary Apprenticeship: International Perspectives on an Evolving Model of Learning’, published by Routledge (co-edited with Alison Fuller) and the 'Wiley International Handbook on Vocational Education and Training' (co-edited with David Guile).