Dr Alison Black
Senior Lecturer in Education


Research interests

Proficient in methods that require elements of statistical analysis and measurement/comparison of variables. Developed competence in a range of qualitative techniques, such as thematic analysis. Taken a mixed-method approach to own research, employing a range of qualitative and quantitative data gathering and analysis tools, and triangulating these data sources.

Research projects

Alison is a researcher on a number of projects at the University of Exeter:

"Inclusion and the academisation of English secondary schools: trends in the placement of pupils with significant SEN and those permanently excluded" ESRC June 2017-current. This ESRC funded project aims to analyse secondary data from the National Pupil Database (NPD) about pupils vulnerable to exclusion from ordinary schools in England, both those with Special Educational Needs (SEN) that enter secondary schools at year 7 and all pupils permanently excluded from secondary schools. This will examine changing proportions of entry and exit since 2003 (when NPD records began) for these pupils in relation to the increasing autonomy of secondary schools from local authorities (LAs). The specific aim is to examine whether greater school autonomy from LAs is related to lower placements in ordinary secondary schools and thus greater separate special school and alternative provision placements.This study will be the first to examine the relationships between changes in the SEN system in its relation to changes in the wider school organisation and policy system using national data trends in England.

"Lesson Planning for Diversity" Society for Educational Studies May - November 2014. This project set out to explore the processes involved in planning and reviewing lessons in relation to teachers' understandings of learner difference and diversity.  By examining the practices, thoughts and beliefs of teachers whose lesson planning is judged to be of a high quality, the research project will reveal ways in which policy standards of catering for diversity (as seen in the Teachers' Standards) can be met.

'Empowering Partnerships: Enabling Engagement' EPSRC January 2013 - December 2017. Work with subject experts, education experts, schools and Early Career Researchers to communicate research to enhance the school curriculum and to raise aspirations of young people from diverse backgrounds. Manage and facilitate project and project themes/ strands, develop project evaluation strategy.


Research grants

  • 2014 Society for Educational Studies
    An examination of how teachers plan for and manage diversity in their lesson plans.


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