CEER Staff

Professor Alan Smithers BSc, PhD, MSc, PhD, MEd, CPsychol.

Professor Alan Smithers

Alan Smithers is the Director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research. He has been previously Sydney Jones Professor of Education at the University of Liverpool (1998-2004), Professor of Policy Research at Brunel University (1996-1998), and Professor of Education at the University of Manchester (1976-1996). He was first a research scientist at London University and was recruited to the study of education.

His most recent research has been on educating clever children; the impact of international comparisons on education policies; school admissions; and physics in schools and universities. He has also published extensively on school examination and test results; teacher training, recruitment and retention; specialist schools; independent schools, technical and vocational education, headship, and single-sex education. He has written many refereed papers in biology, psychology and education, and reports and books on education and employment.

He has served on national committees including the National Curriculum Council, the Beaumont Review of National Vocational Qualifications and the Royal Society Committee on Teacher Supply. Since 1997 he has been specialist adviser to the House of Commons Education Committee.

Professor Smithers can be contacted directly:
Email: alan.smithers@buckingham.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1280 820270 (direct line)

Dr Pamela Robinson BA, MSc, PhD, PGCE.

Pamela Robinson

Pamela Robinson is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham. Following extensive experience in teaching and teacher training she was appointed to a research fellowship at the University of Manchester in 1984. She moved to a lectureship at Brunel University in 1996 where she set up the doctoral education programme. She returned to full-time research on her appointment to Liverpool University in 1998 and moved to Buckingham in 2004.

She has collaborated with Professor Alan Smithers in the work of the Centre for Education and Employment Research since 1984 and has published widely in the fields of international education, teacher provision, flows into science and technology, gender and education, and further and higher education.

Dr Robinson can be contacted directly:
Email: pamela.robinson@buckingham.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1280 820353 (direct line)

Dr John Williams BSc, PhD, FRSC, CChem, CSci.

John Williams is Senior Research Fellow in the Centre with particular reference to science and engineering education. He has wide experience of education, scientific research and promoting research in education. After a chemistry degree and qualifying as a teacher he taught for five years. He then became a research chemist for the Burmah Oil Company, obtaining a PhD while there. After a period in local authority education management he became Senior Executive (General Education) in the Engineering Council. More recently he has been Senior Executive (Science and Engineering Education) at the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and Head of Gatsby Technical Education Projects Ltd.

He has published a number of research papers in chemistry, particularly on phosphetans, some of which led to patents. He is also co-author of the book Quality in Learning: A Capability Approach in Higher Education, London: Kogan Page, 1992.

Ben Nicholls MA (Cantab.)

Ben-NichollsEducated at Winchester and Selwyn College, Cambridge, Ben joined the civil service and held a range of posts in the Department for Education and its predecessor. This included a period as secretary and researcher to Lord Laming during his last major review of child protection practice, and policy, research and private office roles. Between 2010 and 2013 he served the House of Commons Education Committee as in-house specialist on matters across its remit, briefing and advising MPs, analysing and producing research, and leading many of the Committee’s inquiries and visits, in the UK and abroad.  Since January 2013 he has been a member of the senior executive team at Newham College.  He has joined CEER as a research fellow to help it push forward its interests in further and technical education.