The Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY) is a ‘think and action-tank’. We believe society should ensure all children and young people receive the support they need to make a fulfilling transition to adulthood.

We work with a wide range of organisations, and people who share this belief, helping them make wise, bold decisions about how best to support young people.

We use our timely and rigorous research to get under the skin of key issues in education and youth, aiming to shape debate, inform policy and change practice. Set up as a community interest company, we have a particular interest in issues affecting marginalised young people.

How are we different?

CfEY’s work covers:

  • Education and youth
  • Thought and action
  • Policy and practice
  • Westminster and beyond
  • Researchers and practitioners

We produce insights that help improve the lives of all young people. However, we believe that some young people face more barriers than others when it comes to making a fulfilling transition to adulthood. Our work often highlights the experiences of these marginalised young people.

This focus is exemplified in our book, Young People on the Margins. Bringing together over a decade’s worth of research, each of the book’s chapters examines a different group of young people at risk of marginalisation, and what can be done to support them.

We work with our partners in four ways:

CfEY will help you understand the impact your work has made, is making, and could make. We meet our partners where they are on their evaluation and impact journeys by ensuring our work is pragmatic as well as rigorous. This enables us to provide formative insights that help our partners understand and grow their impact for children and young people.

Example Projects:

The Mercers’ Company

We are the independent evaluation partner for the Mercers’ Company’s Transitions Special Initiative. This six-year programme involves 16 grantee organisations, and seeks to improve disadvantaged young people’s post-secondary transitions. CfEY is using a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches to capture the overall impact of the work as well as provide the grantees with feedback on how they can further enhance their delivery. You can read more about this project here.

“[CfEY’s] rich expertise and in-depth understanding of the area of transitions from school into a positive destination have been highly beneficial to us. [CfEY] continues to work closely with the grantees on our programme and have formed some excellent relationships based on trust and transparency. We are looking forward to our continued work with CfEY and would certainly recommend them to other organisations.”
Charlotte Nugent, Young People & Education Grants Programme Manager, The Mercers’ Company


We evaluated three of Nesta’s edtech innovation and covid-recovery funds. We provided a wide range of support, including theory of change workshops with Nesta’s team and its grantees, to delivering a mixed-methods evaluation highlighting the impact of Nesta’s programmes on grantees and the young people they support. You can read more about our work in edtech here.

“Thank you for the brilliant theory of change and impact evaluation workshop, the delivery and format of which was just right. You set a really nice informal but informative tone, securing high engagement among participants. I have worked with CfEY on a number of evaluation projects and have always been very impressed by their knowledge and expertise, and flexible approach to our evaluation objectives. They are proactive and engaging in the way they work with the organisations in Nesta’s programmes, offering high quality bespoke evaluation support alongside conducting programme evaluations.”
Lucy Turner, Programme Manager, Nesta

Aspire to HE

Over the past two years, we have worked with Aspire to HE to design their evaluation framework, carry out a large-scale impact and process evaluation, and to develop their programme delivery. Our evaluation has triangulated findings from pupil surveys, focus groups, teacher and staff interviews and activity observations. We have refined our evaluation approach each year based on the previous year’s findings as well as feedback from stakeholders, and introduced new methods including an action research project to evaluate campus visits and the use of a ‘most significant change’ methodology. We have also introduced a quasi-experimental approach to our survey analysis, in order to compare the impact of different ‘streams’ of support within the programme.

“CfEY have been exceptional in guiding staff at Aspire to HE on how to develop an evaluation process, that continually improves the impact of our activities. The Action Research Cycle that CfEY has implemented with us supports us to ensure we give students an engaging experience on campus. CfEY have been incredibly supportive and responsive as they set up our tools and trained staff to deploy the planning, acting, observing and reflection cycle. Because of CfEY’s support, we have embedded the Action Research methodology into our evaluation processes and this has allowed us to improve our delivery and evidence this improvement through feedback from pupils which has been well received by our governance board. We are now in a strong position to independently review our delivery and make changes where needed, which none of this could have been achieved without CfEY.”
Hannah Guy Data, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Aspire to HE, Uniconnect at The University of Wolverhampton

CfEY will help you to investigate complex issues and identify meaningful solutions for policy and practice. Our research, analysis and development places young people and the adults working with them front and centre. This enables us to uncover and advocate for constructive solutions that bridge the worlds of research, policy and practice.

Example Projects:

Action Tutoring

Building on our work as learning partner with Action Tutoring and Third Space Learning, we partnered with both organisations and Trinity Multi Academy Trust to investigate the future of the tutoring. The work aimed both to influence the current DfE-commissioned National Tutoring Programme, and to take a longer-term perspective on the future of academic tutoring and mentoring beyond 2024. You can read more about it here.

“CfEY’s rigorous analysis underlined how important it is that we tackle maths learning loss for this generation of children, both informing our programme’s development and influencing broader debate on the critical role primary maths plays in children’s future outcomes. Third Space learning is delighted to partnering again with CfEY to explore how the National Tutoring Programme can achieve its potential.”
Tom Hooper, Founder, Third Space Learning

“CfEY’s comprehensive multi-year evaluation proved vital to our understanding of Action Tutoring’s impact and positively influenced refinements to our model as we rapidly scaled. We look forward to working with CfEY again on this timely investigation.”
Susannah Hardyman, Chief Executive, Action Tutoring

Oracy APPG

We worked with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Oracy, synthesising the findings from its Speak for Change Inquiry, and identifying suitable policy solutions. The report received widespread praise from across the political spectrum, the education sector, and from employers. You can read more about this report and our other oracy research here.

“CfEY’s work to support the Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group’s Inquiry was invaluable is distilling a vast amount of evidence into a coherent, succinct and relevant narrative, alongside providing expertise of education policy and constructive challenge when formulating tangible recommendations for the APPG members to consider and agree. Their professionalism and diligence ensured the work was delivered on time and to a very high-quality.”
Gemma Carroll, Oracy APPG Secretariat


During our long-standing research partnership with Pearson, we have explored how assessment and teacher recruitment can be improved – take a look at Making Waves and Testing the Water to see what we found. Our seminal report, Why Teach?, revealed why teachers enter (and stay in) teaching.

“Over the years we have often turned to CfEY for their robust research and thought leadership. I particularly value the accessible and creative way they disseminate their findings and their collaborative and supportive approach to partnership which ensures that outputs are both rigorous and engaging.”
Rod Bristow, Former President UK & Global Online Learning, Pearson

National Citizen Service

Ahead of the 2021 Comprehensive Spending Review, we worked with NCS to highlight the ways in which non-formal learning could support young people’s recovery from the pandemic across a range of outcomes. Our report set out three detailed recommendations for government action to ensure that all young people have access to high-quality non-formal learning. You can read more about it here.

“It was a pleasure to work with the team from CfEY. Their approach was collaborative and agile, and together we were able to develop insightful research under tight time pressures. Their expertise, networks and values allowed us to convene broad engagement and support from partners, and help policy makers to consider a range of evidence based ideas.”
Naim Moukarzel, Chief Impact & Development Officer, NCS Trust

We can help you co-design and deliver innovative programmes, training and resources that benefit young people and the adults who support them. In collaboration with our partners, and drawing on our team’s professional, academic and lived experiences, our support is always designed with the realities of implementation firmly in mind. This means our support will help you achieve sustainable and long-lasting impact.

Example Projects:

Aspire to HE Curriculum Development

During our longstanding partnership with Aspire to HE, the Uniconnect lead in the West Midlands, we have designed three sets of information, advice and guidance (IAG) sessions and resources which provide primary pupils, secondary pupils and adult learners with the information and support they need to plan their progression to higher education. Each IAG course is underpinned by a knowledge curriculum framework which sets out the knowledge that a learner needs in order to make informed choices. To develop the frameworks, we conducted an evidence review a consultation with practitioners and young people to understand the needs of young people in the Black Country. Aspire to HE has rolled out the delivery of the HE knowledge IAG courses in schools and colleges and emerging evidence from evaluation demonstrates a positive impact on learners’ attitudes and knowledge.

“We wanted to better understand the knowledge that our young people need to support their progression to higher education and to ensure that we were providing high quality information, advice and guidance that supported their decision making. CfEY worked well with the Aspire to HE and directly with our partner schools and colleges, offering a flexible and professional service. The knowledge curriculum has been well received in our schools and is being taught across Telford and Wrekin and The Black Country. The CfEY team has as excellent pool of expertise and knowledge which has been great for Aspire to HE to work with.”
Hannah Guy Data, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Aspire to HE, Uniconnect at The University of Wolverhampton

Careers & Enterprise Company toolkits

The Careers and Enterprise Company commissioned us to design and curate its Primary Careers Resources and Youth Social Action Toolkit.

Department for Education films

Commissioned by the Department for Education, we worked with nasen to produce a suite of 12 films exploring different types of special educational need and disabilities.

CfEY can help you to identify and understand key issues facing the education and youth sectors, and shape debate in the UK and beyond. We have experience in organising, hosting, and participating in online and in-person events, as well as speaking and writing across a wide range of platforms. We regularly share our analysis of issues affecting children and young people via our blog, podcast, and YouTube channel.

Example projects:

CfEY has provided communications support to a range of partners, including Oxford University Press, the National Citizens Service, and the Careers and Enterprise Company.

We can help you to:

  • Produce a communications strategy
  • Identify key findings and tailor them to suit a range of audiences
  • Approach sector influencers to amplify your messaging
  • Produce and disseminate a press release
  • Share messages effectively on a variety of social media platforms
  • Organise and run online or in-person events, including recruiting and briefing speakers
  • Identify and prepare for your own speaking or writing opportunities

We regularly share our work and ideas by speaking on panels and delivering keynotes at conferences such as the Festival of Education and the Schools & Academies Show. We also shape national policy debate, for example through our appearances at Select Committees and our work with All-Party Parliamentary Groups. We host our own events and help our partners to organise theirs. We write for national, local and sector press and are regularly called on to TV and radio to respond to government announcements about issues affecting children and young people. Media organisations we have worked with include the FT, The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The i, Tes Schools Week, FE Week, Times Higher Education, SecEd, Wonkhe, Sky News, the BBC, and LBC. We share our analysis of issues affecting children and young people via our popular blog, podcast, and YouTube channel.

Across the team there are a wide range of topics we are able to speak on or comment about, including:

  • Marginalised children and young people
  • Teacher recruitment and retention
  • Schools’ experiences of and responses to the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Schools’ interactions with parents
  • School culture and school improvement
  • School exclusions
  • Young people’s aspirations
  • Young people’s transitions
  • Place-based approaches to supporting young people
  • Social mobility and social justice
  • Special educational needs
  • Mental health

Please see our team biographies below for more information about our individual specialisms. 

If you would like a member of the team to speak at an event, please contact them directly or email [email protected].

For press enquiries please contact [email protected] or call us on +44 7828 183469.

Keep up to date

If you would like to be kept up to date with our work, please sign up to our newsletter. Our work is made stronger by including the voices of practitioners on the ground. If you are working with children and young people in education, perhaps as a teacher, youth worker or in a different capacity, please sign up to our practitioner panel here to get updates about how you can get involved.

We’re always keen to hear from new talent so if you’re committed to our mission and would like to find out more  about working for us, do get in touch!