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Binwei Lu

Research Student

Research Student in the School of Education


Binwei is a first year doctoral student. She did her Bachelor's program (first class) in Chinese Language and Literature at Zhejiang University. After that, she started her MA in Intercultural Education and Internationalisation at Durham University in 2014 and graduated with a distinction. Her MA dissertation was about intercultural education in foreign language classes in Chinese Higher Education Institutions. During her master’s program, she also studied education policy, inspired by which she decided to do research on school effectiveness and equity as her doctoral project. Hoping for a better world for future generations, Binwei cares a lot about vulnerable groups. Before pursuing the doctoral program, she worked at the United Nations Development Program as an intern in 2016. She was also an editor of Walk for Truce, a charity event initiated by Lord Michael Bates.

Doctoral project

Binwei’s doctoral study is about school effectiveness and equity, focusing on the effectiveness and wider impacts of selective school systems, as used widely across the world. The specific focus on grammar schools is in England partly because of the quality of available official data and partly because it is a hot issue. In September 2016, the UK government published its new green paper, stating that selective schools will be expanded greatly, involving repealing the law that makes new selective schools illegal. The selection of young children in terms of their early attainment and then the provision of different routes through schooling depending upon the results is long-established, and still relatively widespread in some areas of England. However, whether this system works in terms of raising attainment for students on all routes, and how it influence the future performance of students from different social backgrounds, remain unknown. A particular concern is what happens to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Binwei’s research will answer these questions using databases such as NPD and UCAS/HESA, and methods such as regression discontinuity design, multilevel regression, and in-depth work. This will provide evidence of whether selective system promotes more effective and fairer education for students in England. It will also offer directions for the future development for secondary schools in England, for elsewhere, and for the common practice of selection within schools.

Research interests

  • School effectiveness and equity
  • Education and social justice
  • Social mobility and higher education access


Journal Article