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PhD Studentship in Social Deprivation and Educational Achievement (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R1149
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: full UK/EU fees, plus stipend and research/training grant
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

ESRC Wales DTC, ESRC, Cardiff University

Key Studentship Information

Project Title: Social Deprivation and Educational Achievement.

Applications are being sought for a prestigious full time PhD Studentship, to be based in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, to begin in October 2014.

This project sets out to explore three main research questions:

The theoretical lenses adopted to account for the persistent under performance of pupils from the most deprived communities can be categorised (Raffo et al 2007) as a combination of factors; macro (i.e. community attitudes towards education) meso (i.e. school culture) to micro (i.e. staff expectations). This studentship project will explore the micro and meso level by illuminating the interaction between novice teachers’ construction of the nature of deprivation and its relationship with pupil achievement, their sense of professional agency, and the institutional logics (Jackall, 1998) they encounter within schools.

The studentship will be a mixed method study utilising an annual survey of novice teachers (sample 1,000), in combination with series of focus of groups (sample 30) to develop an overview of perceptions concerning the links between deprivation and attainment and teachers’ perceived agency. Six in-depth case studies of novice teachers working in secondary schools in high deprivation communities will illuminate how these factors interact over time.

The studentship will be based within the team delivering the Masters in Educational Practice (MEP) which is central to the Welsh government’s workforce development plans. Open to all newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in Wales this is a programme of professional development focussed upon improving outcomes for pupils and ameliorating the impact of poverty.

The award will be made on +3 basis. A +3 studentship provides funding for the three years only, and assumes that the applicant will already have had research training from an appropriate master’s degree. Applicants will have completed, or be currently enrolled on, an MSc in Social Science Research Methods or equivalent Masters programme and have experience of social research methods.

The studentship will commence in October 2014 and will cover tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant and an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) for three years for full-time students. In 2013 the maintenance grant for full-time students was £13,726 and the RTSG was £750.

Supervisors: Prof. Mark Hadfield

Number of Studentships Available: 1

Start Date: October 2014


This studentship is generously funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£13726 p.a. for 2013/14, updated each year) and a £750 p.a. research training and support grant.


Application deadline: 24 January 2014


Academic Criteria: ESRC studentship funding is highly competitive. Candidates should have an excellent academic background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or upper 2nd class degree and have completed or be currently completing a Masters degree (preferably an ESRC-recognised Masters or an equivalent background in research training). Applicants with a relevant background in humanities, social science or healthcare degree are also encouraged.

Residency Criteria: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education. EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of their proposed programme of study.

How to Apply

Applicants must complete and submit the following documentation by the deadline of 12.00pm, 24th January 2014. Note that the deadline is absolute and applications received after this specified time and date will not be accepted.

Application deadline: 24 January 2014

Information about the School

Cardiff University is acknowledged as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities, held in high esteem both nationally and internationally. It has gained further recognition recently as one of the UK's top 20 universities and was short listed for the University of the Year title in The Sunday Times University Guide 2013. Cardiff University is also the home of the ESRC funded Wales DTC, part of a national network of 21 accredited Doctoral Training Centres across the UK judged by the ESRC to deliver truly excellent postgraduate training provision.

Cardiff School of Social Sciences is a large School with over 160 staff and a thousand undergraduate and postgraduate students. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise rated almost all of its research to be of an international standard, with 55% of it either “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. This rating, together with the size of the School, places it amongst the top five centres in the UK (and ranked number one in the UK for social sciences ‘research power’). The School’s academic and research staff and PhD students are engaged in high quality research employing a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, have an excellent publication record and are very active in international collaboration and interdisciplinary projects. About 120 full and part-time PhD students are currently enrolled in our doctoral programme, making ours a large and vibrant postgraduate community.

Further information about the School can be found here.

Further Information

How applications will be assessed: The closing deadline for applications is 12.00pm, 24th January 2014. Application forms will be assessed by a panel made up of the project supervisors and the Director of Graduate Studies, following which short-listed applicants will be invited to interview. We expect interviews to take place towards the end of January/early February 2014.

Enquiries should be directed to Vicky Parkin via email on, or via telephone on +44 (0)2920 870 855, weekdays between 9am and 1pm.

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