Dr Clare Gartland

Course Leader of MA Education Studies and Associate Professor of Education

+44 (0)1473 338553
School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Clare Gartland ORCID
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Following her work as a teacher and teacher trainer in Leicester and London, Clare has spent over 15 years researching and evaluating ways to support progression across educational sectors and widen access to HE. This has included working with many different organisations, including the Royal Academy of Engineering, Cambridge University, BT and the QAA. Since moving to the University of Suffolk Clare has continued with this research, as well as leading the MA programme in Education Studies and overseeing Initial Teacher Training programmes across the region.

Clare’s roles in learning and teaching at the University of Suffolk include:

MA Education Studies

Course leader for the MA Education Studies, contributing to and leading modules including: Dissertations, Applying Theory in Educational Research, Independent Learning and Research Methods.

PhD supervision

Currently supervising four PhD’s:  Widening Participation to Higher Education: Degree Apprenticeships, Policy and Practice;  What makes an effective science teacher? The influence of beliefs, efficacy and PCK on practice and outcomes; Professional identities of NQT and early career teachers; and Student Teachers’ Emotional Wellbeing during School Placement.


Academic lead for the Initial Teacher Training courses validated by the university with oversight of all SCITT and PGCE programmes.

Research interests

Clare’s overarching research interest is in identifying ways to support equitable educational progression. Her work explores how inequalities are structured and reproduced and how inequitable practices can be challenged. Clare has specialised in evaluation and research considering ways to support progression, particularly through outreach activity with schools and colleges, and has contributed nationally and internationally to the development of outreach programmes. A particular interest is access and progression in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Clare completed her PhD with the Institute of Education in 2012; the focus of this was widening participation policy and practice and specifically the work of STEM student ambassadors and their outreach work with school age students. While at the University of Suffolk, Clare has been awarded funding for a series of related research projects and a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship which allowed her to extend her research into the STEM outreach work of university student ambassadors to the USA. In 2019 her journal article about the contribution of Colleges and BTEC courses to the HE progression of traditionally excluded groups, based on research for the QAA, won Highly Commended paper in the Emerald Literati Awards.

Research Projects

2020-2023 Phase 3: Connecting STEM Teachers Research and evaluation study  Funder  RAEng.  PI  (with Dr Cristian Dogaru, Associate Professor, UoS; Dr Tuba Gokpinar, Research Associate, UoS; and Professor Peter Kutnick, Kings College London)

2019-20  Ipswich Alternative Provision Project Evaluation Funder SCC (with Dr Pere Ayling, Senior Lecturer, UoS)

2018-2019 BT Review of STEM Scholarship and Sponsorship Programmes Funder BT. PI  with Dr Cristian Dogaru, Dr Pere Ayling and Dr Suzanne Nolan, Senior Lecturer, UoS)

2017-2019 Enhancing BTEC students’ transition to HE: developing pedagogical partnerships across post-16 and HE sectors Funder NEACO. PI (with Dr Christine Smith, Associate Professor, UoS)

2016-2017. Employer Engagement in Outreach. FunderEngineeringUK (with Professor Justin Dillon, Exeter University)

2016-2018 Phase 2 Connecting STEM Teachers research and evaluation project. Funder RAEng. (with Professor Peter Kutnick and Dr David Good, Cambridge University)

2015- BTEC students’ transitions to HE. Funder QAA. (with Dr Christine Smith)


Selected publications (see ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2304-1633 for full listing)

Research Reports

Gartland, C. & Smith C. (2019) Enhancing BTEC students’ transition to HE: developing pedagogical partnerships across post-16 and HE sectors. A NEACO (NCOP) project. (published online via NEACO & NEON) https://www.neaco.ac.uk/news/2019/11/8/university-of-suffolk-neaco-report-enhancing-btec-students-transition-to-he

Ayling, P. & Gartland, C. (2019) An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Ipswich Alternative Provision (IAP) project in supporting swift and successful transition of excluded children from Alternative Provision (AP) education setting back into mainstream primary, secondary and post-16 education setting. (unpublished)

Gartland, C. (2018) Stoke Engineering Project: end of project evaluation. (unpublished)

Kutnick, P., Good, D. and Gartland, C. (2018) Effects and Impacts of the Connecting STEM Teachers Project with regard to Teacher Coordinators and Teachers. RAEng (unpublished)

Dillon, J., Gartland, C. and Drewitt, E. (2017) Final report on the knowledge transfer partnership with EngineeringUK 2013-17 (unpublished)

Gartland, C. (2016) Student Ambassadors and STEM Outreach: A study of practices in the USA. Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship Report.http://www.wcmt.org.uk/sites/default/files/report-documents/Gartland%20C%20Report%202015%20Final.pdf

Gartland C and Smith C (2015) Towards a Connected Approach for Inclusive and Positive Transitions into HE. QAA Subscriber Research project 2015. http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/Publications/Documents/Subscriber-Research-Inclusive-and-Positive-Transitions-15.pdf

Book Chapters

Gartland, C. (2020) UK and USA university outreach practices: can student ambassadors contribute to STEM learning?. In Mansour, N. and EL-Deghaidy, H. Eds. STEM in Science Education and S in STEM: From Pedagogy to Learner. Sense Publishing

Gartland, C. (2020) Student ambassadors and new learning practices. In  Hucks, D., Sealey-Ruiz, Y., Carothers, S., Showunmi, V. ad Lewis, C.W. Purposeful Teaching and Learning in Diverse Contexts: Education for Access, Equality and Achievement. Charlotte, NC, USA: Information Age Publishing.

Gartland, C. STEM Ambassadors. In Eds. David. M. and M.J.Amey (2020) The Encyclopedia of Higher Education. Sage

Gartland C. and Hayton, A. Outreach. In Eds. David. M. and M.J.Amey (2020) The Encyclopedia of Higher Education. Sage


Gartland, C. & Smith, C.(2021) Supporting Progression to Higher Education (HE): The Role of Colleges and Vocational Courses. In Atherton, G. (Ed.) The Third Age of Widening Access


Gartland, C. (2014) STEM Strategies: Student Ambassadors and Equality in HE. Trentham Books and IOE Press

Journal articles (peer reviewed)

Gartland, C and Smith, C. (2018) Supporting progression to HE: the role of colleges and vocational courses. Education + Training DOI (10.1108/ET-02-2018-0053)

Gartland, C., Ingram, N., & Courtney, S. J. (2017). Research and policy in education. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38(3), 403-414.

Gartland, C. (2015) Student ambassadors: ‘role models’, learning practices and identities. Peer reviewed. British Journal of Sociology of Education.  36 (8) 1192-1211


Smith, C. & Gartland, C. (2020) Enhancing transition into HE for diverse, non-traditional students: steps toward connected pedagogical partnerships. ICED 2020

Gartland, C., Nolan, S., Ayling, P. (2020) Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) Employer Collaborations with University and Pre-University (16-19) settings: a review of evidence of impact and implications for future practice. INTED, 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain 3/2020

Gartland, C. (2018) UK and USA university STEM outreach practices; discourses and identities. Narratives of Widening Participation. SRHE Access and Widening Participation Network Seminar series. (invited keynote speaker)

Gartland, C. (2017) Lessons from the USA: informing knowledge and expectations of university through subject specific student ambassador outreach. SRHE Annual Conference at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, 12/17

Gartland, C. (2017) Lessons from the USA: reaching diverse groups through STEM student ambassador outreach activity. BERA Annual Conference 2017, University of Sussex, 9/17

Gartland, C & Smith, C (2016) Supporting transition to HE: stratifications and strategies in the post 16 sector. SRHE Annual Conference at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, 12/16

Gartland, C & Smith, C (2016) Transitions into HE. Symposium presented at the BERA (British Educational Research Association) Annual Conference 2016, Leeds University, 9/16

Gartland, C & Smith, C (2016) Supporting transitions to HE: BTECs and Student Identities. Learning and Teaching Day 2016 at University of East Anglia, 5/16

Smith, C & Gartland, C (2016) Preparing for HE, preparing for employment? BTECs and developing vocational identities. Open University’s Widening Participation conference: Transforming lives through life-wide learning 4/16

Smith, C & Gartland, C (2016) Transitions into HE: towards a connected approach for inclusive and positive transitions into HE. Presentation at: QAA Annual Conference 2016, University of Birmingham, 4/16

Gartland, C & Smith, C (2015) Supporting Transition from FE to HE: BTECs and Student Identities. Presentation at: Supporting effective HE transitions symposium, Birmingham City University, 12/15 (invitation)

BERA: Annual Conference (2015) Belfast. Social Justice in HE: discourses and identities in the work of student ambassadors as ‘role models’ 9/15

QAA Subscriber Conference (2015) How does the transition to higher education support the increasing diversity of prior educational experiences of entrants? An exploration of the issues and identification of good practice. 6/15 (invitation)

Charities and Businesses

Clare works with charities, businesses and government bodies supporting their work with young people through researching and evaluating outreach and other educational programmes and activity. She has worked with a range of organisations including the Royal Academy of Engineering, EngineeringUK, BT, the Science and Learning Centre, the QAA, NEACO and Aimhigher. Her research and evaluation work for the Royal Academy of Engineering  has contributed to the development  of a range of national and regional STEM projects including the Academy’s national Connecting STEM Teachers Project which operates across all regions of England, and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

HE WP outreach practitioner networks

Clare is a member of the NERUPI Steering and Advisory Group. She has been invited to present her research on Student Ambassadors to practitioners via a range of events organised by practitioner networks across the UK including: the NERUPI network and LEAPS in partnership with SCAPP (Scotland’s Community of Access and Participation Practitioners). Her research has been used to frame workshop discussions in these and other networks, supporting practitioners in planning activity using ambassadors.

Recent and existing collaborations with HEIs include: University of Bucharest, Romania; University of Gothenburg, Sweden and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, Tufts, USA.