Research is fundamental to our quality agenda. Our in-house research unit ensures that evidence-led approaches are central to our practice

The Practice Research Unit’s mission is to provide evidence-led research that will explore education provision.

Our research focuses on understanding effective teaching practice and how to improve education services to ensure challenges that learners face do not become a barrier to their learning.

  • Identify effective classroom methodologies
  • Minimise barriers to learning
  • Improve social mobility

Social Mobility

The Practice Research Unit is focused on improving social mobility through evidence-based research. The findings of research projects will provide arguments and recommendations that will aim to inform decisions made by education providers and policy makers. We will focus on improving social mobility and inclusion by:

  • Evaluating barriers to learning and how to reduce them
  • Identifying effective classroom methodologies that keep learners engaged
  • Promoting methods that allow for effective differentiation to support additional needs
  • Aligning provision recommendations to the current job market to increase employability

Our research will also focus on other factors that can influence education which may include government policies, comparison of international practice, SEND provision, technology in the classroom, and implementing cross-cutting themes including numeracy, literacy, and British values.



“At Seetec, we are committed to growing our research base to better inform how we can increase learner success and reduce barriers to education. Our intention isn’t simply to improve opportunities for our learners, but to inform and influence the practice within the sector so that learners can get the very best experience. Our aim as a Practice Research Unit therefore is to enable evidence-led, continuous improvement both for Seetec’s learner population and for learners across the sector.”

Graham Wines,
Director of Professional Standards, Research and Development

Our key documents
Ethics Statement

Read our code of ethics here

Mission Statement

Read our mission statement here


Adult Education Classroom

Current Research

Our research priorities are in line with our mission statement – to improve social mobility through education provision. They will be based on the services that Seetec Outsource provide to ensure that we are giving learners the best experience by meeting their needs and helping them to achieve their qualifications.

This year, we will focus on understanding the barriers to learning that female ESOL learners experience in order to support interventions that may broaden access. Additionally, we will identify effective methodologies for teaching learners with additional needs.

Upcoming Project:

Female Asylum Seekers and Refugees’ Experiences of ESOL in England.   

This research aims to explore how female asylum seekers and refugees experience looking for and attending an ESOL class. It delves into the potential challenges that this population can face and the impact that English language education has on their lives in England. Using both questionnaire and focus group data, this research will be used to inform our ESOL provision, ensuring that it is accessible and effective for female asylum seekers and refugees. Moreover, it will add to the wider evidence used by policy and decision makers to design appropriate ESOL provision that meets the needs of this population.

This project is due to be completed in July/August 2023. If you want to find more about this project, please contact lead researcher, Holly Dono

Our Research Team

Holly Dono (she/her)Education Practice Research Officer

Holly is an education specialist; she achieved her undergraduate degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Education Studies with a first class honours and was awarded the Ede&Ravenscroft award for being the highest achieving student across her school. After demonstrating her academic ability, she was offered an opportunity to enrol on the PhD programme at Cardiff Metropolitan University where she is investigating the impact that classroom language teaching has on English language variation in different European settings.

Holly has taught English as an additional language for over four years in numerous settings within the UK and internationally to both adults and children. Her previous research has been qualitative in nature and explored key themes regarding English language teaching, accessibility for learners and appropriate assessments for refugee doctors. Her research interests include classroom methodologies and their impact on learning, increasing access to education for all students, promoting social mobility through education and providing effective SEND provision.

Dr Kerry Ellis Devitt (she/her)Head of Research

Kerry has 24 year’s experience as a researcher, and has worked in the public, private, academic and charity sectors. Having begun her career in 1998 as a psychology-based, quantitative researcher, she moved into social research in 2003, and specialised in criminal justice research in 2008. Kerry has lectured for many years in various universities, teaching psychology, criminology and social research, and most recently held a post at the University of Portsmouth as a lecturer on the Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) programme. In 2020, she completed her PhD with her research, The life-stories of young adult men in the criminal justice system: A critical narrative analysis. Kerry’s research interests include, young adults in the CJS, women in the CJS, probation practice, families of people on probation, practitioner wellbeing, mental health in probation, and most recently, the life-stories of domestic abuse perpetrators.

Jess Lawrence (she/they) – Social and Justice Practice Researcher

Jess  has a background in Social Psychology, and has been working in the justice sector since 2017. She is a qualitative researcher and has worked on several collaborative research projects, including with the University of Cambridge and in the HMPPS Probation Workforce Programme. Her previous research includes projects on supported housing and reviewing the Senior Probation Officer role.

Jess is passionate about diversity and improving outcomes for people accessing services and the staff that deliver them. Her research interests include exploring the experiences of LGBTQ+ people (particularly people with minority gender identities), supporting the probation workforce and probation practice.


Our Justice Research

Seetec’s Justice and Social Care pillar, Interventions Alliance, provides research that focuses on understanding how to improve services that tackle offending and the many common social care challenges that can hold people back from fulfilling their potential.

Find out more about Interventions Alliance’s research