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Ben Willis BMedSci, MRes

Research Fellow


Summary

Ben is a Research Fellow with 10 years of research experience. His research interests are focused around the broader dimensions of education, particularly in relation to children and younger people's health/wellbeing.

Ben has significant experience of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies (including survey design, face to face/telephone interviewing and focus groups) derived from working on school based research projects/evaluations for a range of clients including the Department for Education (DfE), Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), local authorities and the National Health Service (NHS). In addition to his role as a researcher he regularly undertakes the role of project manager too.

About

Ben is a Research Fellow with 10 years of research experience, his research interests are focused around the broader dimensions of education, particularly in relation to children and younger people's health and wellbeing. His academic focus in recent times has centred upon how schools are engaging with PSHE.

Ben has worked on numerous education related research projects/evaluations for clients such as the Department for Education (DfE), Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), local authorities, Booktrust and the National Health Service (NHS). He is comfortable working across a variety of settings including schools, colleges, Early Year's provision, local authorities and school-linked health services.

Methodologically, Ben has extensive experience of both qualitative and quantitative research (including survey design, face to face/telephone interviewing and focus groups). He is particularly practiced in conducting in-depth case study work that regularly involves mixed method approaches.

In addition, Ben frequently performs the role of project manager something that necessitates working very closely with funders, delivery partners and research participants to ensure projects run effectively and to time. CEIR's increasing use of experimental methodologies (E.g. Randomised Controlled Studies - RCTs) has meant the relationship with funders, delivery partners, research participants and other external partners has become increasingly complex which has necessitated the implementation of new processes that he has helped to design and embed.

Recently Ben project managed CEIR's largest RCT to date - the DfE funded Multiplicative Reasoning Project RCT (DfE, 2015) where he worked closely with a number of external partners (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM), Exam providers and a variety of recruitment agencies) and 60 secondary schools to ensure that a variety of key data was collected and that a test related to the RCT was undertaken by all nominated pupils on a specified date.

Children and young people wellbeing
Education policy
Equality and diversity
PSHE

Teaching

Social Sciences and Arts

Research

Project Manager for the Evaluation of the Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) -Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying programme grant on behalf of the Department for Education and Government Equalities Office (2015-16).

Co-director of the Evaluation of the Jigsaw PSHE programme for schools (2015-2016)

Project Manager for the Improving the impact of teaching assistants: EEF scale-up campaign evaluation on behalf of the Education Endowment Foundation. (2015-17)

Project Manager for the Evaluation of progress towards an evidence based teaching system, including DfE’s role in facilitating progress on behalf of the Department for Education (2014-16)

Project Manager for the Evaluation of Dialogic Teaching: Improving Classroom Talk on behalf of the Education Endowment Foundation. (2015-17)

PSHE under a coalition government: schools’ perspectives research project. Internally awarded research grant. (2014-15)

Boylan, M, Demack, S, Willis, B, Stevens, A, Adams, G and Verrier,D. (2015) Multiplicative reasoning professional development programme evaluation for Department for Education

Bronwen, M, Burnett, C, Reidy, J, Willis, B, Demack, S, (2015) Oracy Curriculum, Culture and Assessment Toolkit for the Educational Endowment Foundation.

Coldwell M, Willis B, McCaig C (2013) Investigation of the Key Stage L6 tests (PDF, 1.6MB) for Department for Education

Formby, E, Coldwell M, Stiell B, Demack S, Stevens A, Shipton L, Wolstenholme C, Willis B (2011) Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education: A mapping study of the prevalent models of delivery and their effectiveness for Department for Education

Formby E. and, Willis, B. (2011) Tackling homophobia and transphobia in settings supporting young people: What are the barriers and facilitators? Findings from a South Yorkshire study. Published by Sheffield Hallam University

Coldwell, M, Shipton, L, Stevens, A, Stiell, B, Willis, B and Wolstenholme, C (2011) Process evaluation of the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check Pilot for Department for Education

Stiell B, Maxwell B, Willis B, Stevens A. (2010) School meal uptake research in Rotherham for Rotherham MBC and NHS Rotherham (confidential)

Formby E, Owen J, Willis B, Wolstenholme C (2010) Mapping Bradford Tic Tacs: An Evaluation of School Based Health Services for Young People for Bradford City Council

Bath C, Garrick R, Dunn K, Maconochie H, Willis B, Wolstenholme C (2010) Children's Experiences of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for Department for Education (DfE)

Formby E, Owen J, Willis B, Wolstenholme C (2010) Mapping Bradford Tic Tacs: An Evaluation of School Based Health Services for Young People

Publications

Willis, B., Clague, L., & Coldwell, M. (2013). Effective PSHE education: values, purposes and future directions. Pastoral Care in Education: An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development, 31 (2), 99-111. http://doi.org/10.1080/02643944.2012.747556

Coldron, J.H., Willis, B., & Wolstenholme, C. (2009). Selection by attainment and aptitude in English secondary schools. British journal of educational studies, 57 (3), 245-264. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8527.2009.00435.x

Nixon, J., Hodge, N.S., Parr, S., Willis, B., & Hunter, C. (2008). Anti social behaviour and disability in the UK. People, place & policy online, 2 (1), 37-47. http://doi.org/10.3351/ppp.0002.0001.0005

Reports

Batty, E., Harris, C., Leather, D., Pearson, S., Wilson, I., Carter, C., ... Willis, B. (2020). Children’s Communities final evaluation report. Save the Children, UK. http://www.childrenscommunitynetwork.org.uk/sites/default/files/Childrens%20Communities%20final%20evaluation%20report.pdf

Maxwell, B., Willis, B., Culliney, M., Coldwell, M., Demack, S., Goepel, J., & Stevens, A. (2019). Formative evaluation of the South & West Yorkshire teaching assistants scale-up campaign. Education Endowment Foundation. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Campaigns/SW_Yorks_TA_final_report_final.pdf

Maxwell, B., Willis, B., Culliney, M., Coldwell, M., & Reaney, S. (2019). Formative evaluation of the Lincolnshire teaching assistants scale-up campaign. Education Endowment Foundation. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Campaigns/Teaching_Assistant_campaign_Lincs_final.pdf

Thomas, P., Jay, T., Willis, B., Taylor, R., Merchant, G., Moore, N., ... Stevens, A. (2019). Dialogic Teaching: Addendum Report. London, UK: Education Endowment Foundation. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Projects/Evaluation_Reports/Dialogic_Teaching_addendum_report%C2%AD_final_for_publication.pdf

Stiell, B., Willis, B., Culliney, M., & Coldwell, M. (2018). International teacher recruitment: understanding the attitudes and experiences of school leaders and teachers. Research Report. London: Department for Education. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/713859/International_teacher_recruitment-_attitudes_and_experiences_of_school_leaders_and_teachers.pdf

Batty, E., Pearson, S., Wilson, I., Coldwell, M., Stiell, B., & Willis, B. (2018). Children's Community evaluation 2017 report. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University. http://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/childrens-community-evaluation-2017.pdf

Batty, E., Harris, C., Leather, D., Pearson, S., Wilson, I., Coldwell, M., ... Willis, B. (2018). Children's Communities programme evaluation 2018 report. Save the Children UK. https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/content/dam/gb/reports/education/children%27s_communities_y2_report_final.pdf

Jay, T., Willis, B., Thomas, P., Taylor, R., Moore, N., Burnett, C., ... Stevens, A. (2017). Dialogic Teaching : Evaluation Report and Executive Summary. London, UK: Education Endowment Foundation. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Projects/Evaluation_Reports/Dialogic_Teaching_Evaluation_Report.pdf

Coldwell, M., Greany, T., Higgins, S., Brown, C., Maxwell, B., Stiell, B., ... Burns, H. (2017). Evidence-informed teaching: an evaluation of progress in England. Research Report. London, UK: Department for Education. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/625007/Evidence-informed_teaching_-_an_evaluation_of_progress_in_England.pdf

Formby, E., Willis, B., & Stevens, A. (2016). Inspiring equality in education grant evaluation : final report. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University.

Wolstenholme, C., Willis, B., & Culliney, M. (2016). Evaluation of the impact of Jigsaw the mindful approach to PSHE on primary schools. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University.

Wolstenholme, C., & Willis, B. (2016). Personal Social Health & Economic (PSHE) Education under the coalition government. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Hallam University. http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/ceir/sites/ceir/files/PSHE%20Research%20report%20January%202016.pdf

Boylan, M., Demack, S., Willis, B., Stevens, A., Adams, G., & Verrier, D. (2015). Multiplicative reasoning professional development programme : evaluation. London: Department for Education. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/436832/RR406A_-_Multiplicative_Reasoning_Professional_Development_Programme.pdf

Boylan, M., & Willis, B. (2015). Independent study of computing at School Master Teacher programme. Sheffield Hallam University. http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/noe/cas-master-teacher-report-sheffield-hallam.pdf

Maxwell, B., Burnett, C., Reidy, J., Willis, B., & Demack, S. (2015). Oracy curriculum, culture and assessment toolkit. London: Education Endowment Foundation. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects/school21-and-cambridge-university/

Formby, E., Coldwell, M., Stiell, B., Demack, S., Stevens, A., Shipton, L., ... Willis, B. (2011). Personal, social, healthand economic (PSHE)education: A mappingstudy of the prevalentmodels of delivery andtheir effectiveness. London: Department for Education.

Formby, E., & Willis, B. (2011). Tackling homophobia and transphobia in settings supporting young people: What are the barriers and facilitators?Findings from a South Yorkshirestudy. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University.

Formby, E., Hirst, J., & Willis, B. (2009). Socialising and sexual health: an evaluation of the needs of gay, bisexual men and men who have sex with men (MSM) in Sheffield. Sheffield: Centre for HIV and Sexual Health. http://www.sexualhealthsheffield.nhs.uk/publications/index.php

Other publications

Coldron, J.H., Tanner, E., Finch, S., Shipton, L., Wolstenholme, C., Willis, B., ... Stiell, B. (2008). Secondary school admissions. London: Department for Children, Schools and Families: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/DCSF-RR020.pdf

Hunter, C., Hodge, N.S., Nixon, J., Parr, S., & Willis, B. (2007). Disabled people’s experiences of anti-social behaviour and harassment in social housing: a critical review. London: Disability Rights Commission

Evans, A., Hawksley, F., Holland, M.R., Wolstenholme, C.E., & Willis, B. (2007). The role of the initial teacher training co-ordinator: secondary headteachers' and ITT co-ordinators' perspectives. http://www.ttrb.ac.uk/attachments/80a5682f-5ef5-435b-8472-c8348f2ee5ec.pdf

Coldwell, M.R., Gornall, L., Holland, M.R., Trickey, D.S., Willis, B., & Wolstenholme, C.E. (2006). Developing enterprise culture in a northern educational authority in the UK: involving trainee teachers in learning-orientated evaluation. http://www.eera-ecer.eu/ecer/ecer2006/

Evans, A., Holland, M.R., Wolstenholme, C.E., Willis, B., & Hawksley, F. (2006). The role of the Initial Teacher Training Coordinator in the school based element of partnership: to what extent does the Co-ordinator undertake supervision of aspects of quality assurance? Ljubljana: National School for Leadership in Education: http://www.pef.uni-lj.si/atee/

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