Jake's research projects include grants from UKRI Economic and Social Research Council, the Nuffield Foundation and evaluations of randomised controlled trials in schools funded by the Education Endowment Foundation. There's more information on a selection of these projects below.
COVID Social Mobility & Opportunities (COSMO) study
COSMO is a longitudinal cohort study seeking to generate high-quality evidence to answer the central research question of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected socio-economic inequalities in life chances, in terms of short-term effects on educational attainment and well-being, and long-term educational and career outcomes. It will study a representative sample of young people in Year 11 across England, and follow them as they progress through their education. Existing studies have looked cross-sectionally at pupils in school at a variety of ages, however this study seeks to complement this work by harnessing the power of longitudinal research to capture a cohort experiencing the pandemic at the same stage of their development. Pupils currently in Year 11 are at a crucial stage in their education: the first point where young people take significant choices about their pathways, with long term consequences for their life trajectories. Having experienced two school years in a row of serious disruption, along with uncertainty about and ultimately cancellation of their GCSEs, they must now make these transitions with little time for schools to recover.
This project is funded by UKRI's COVID response fund and the Economic and Social Research Council, with additional support from the Sutton Trust. There's more information on the COSMO website.
Competitive Effects of Free Schools
This project is carrying out a major analysis of free schools and their competitive effects on student outcomes and neighbouring schools. Free schools were introduced by the coalition government following the 2010 general election to make it possible for parents, teachers, charities and businesses to set up their own schools. The government has invested significantly in the development and promotion of these schools, arguing not just that they will be excellent in their own right and offer parents better choices, but also that this will create new pressures for improvement in neighbouring schools. However, there is no rigorous evidence on the outcomes for students, and some concern that free schools may have a negative impact on neighbouring schools. This research will provide evidence for how free schools influence local patterns of choice and competition, as well as their effects on pupil outcomes. It will also identify whether free schools have a disproportionate impact on outcomes for socioeconomically disadvantaged children. The research team will work with key stakeholders from the DfE throughout the project, and findings will inform policy on how decisions are made about opening new schools.
This project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation. There's more information on their website.
Learning About Culture: Five randomised controlled trials of cultural learning interventinos
UCL and the Behavioural Insights Team working in partnership were selected by the EEF to run a large multi-trial evaluation of five cultural learning interventions in English primary schools. 8,500 children in 400 state schools with a significant proportion of pupil-premium eligible students participated in trials of five cultural learning activities, starting in September 2018. These trials represented the biggest study of its kind ever undertaken and provided much-needed insight into both what works and how it works. We worked closely with the RSA on their broader work to contextualise effective cultural learning activities and improve the use of evidence in this area.
This project was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and more information is available from the RSA website project page and the five evaluation pages on the EEF website: The Craft of Writing, Power of Pictures, Young Journalist Academy, Speech Bubbles, and First Thing Music.
Jake regularly contributes to Undergraduate and Graduate teaching across the department and faculty, including co-leading the Economics of Public Policy undergraduate module in the UCL Social Research Institute. Students should generally find resources for these on the relevant UCL Moodle site. He also regularly supervises Master's students completing dissertations with a quantitative focus, and supervises doctoral students with a focus on educational inequality and/or evaluation making use of advanced quantitative methods. He has carried out doctoral supervision in partnership with the Department of Political Science and the Behavioural Insights Team as part of the UCL/BIT PhD Scholarship programme, and the Sutton Trust and the Education Policy Institute as part of ESRC UBEL DTP Collaborative PhD Studentships.
- Tolani Ogundamisi (2026, expected), principal supervisor with Prof. Gill Wyness.
- Robbie Maris (2026, expected), subsidiary supervisor with Prof. Gill Wyness.
- Joshua Uddin (2025, expected), principal supervisor with Dr. Rachael Levy.
- Tom Waters (2025, expected), principal supervisor with Dr. Claire Crawford & Prof. Alex Bryson.
- Emine Pehlivan (2025, expected), subsidiary supervisor with Dr. Stuart Tannock.
Former Doctoral Students
- Silvan Häs (2022), subsidiary supervisor with Prof. John Jerrim. Thesis title: Socio-economic status and worklessness: educational investments and expectations. Passed with minor corrections. Now working at ritzenhoefer & company.
- Eliza Kozman (2020), principal supervisor with Prof. Peter John, KCL. Thesis title: "Addressing barriers to university progression for white working-class boys". Passed with minor corrections. Now working at TASO.
- Sandra Mathers (2019), subsidiary supervisor with Prof. Iram Siraj, Oxford. Thesis title: ``Observing Language Pedagogy (OLP): Developing and piloting a contexualised video-based measure of early childhood teachers' pedagogical language knowledge''. Passed with no corrections. Now working at Oxford Department of Education.
- Bibi Groot (2018), subsidiary supervisor with Prof. Peter John, KCL. Thesis title: "Social support and academic success: field experiments in further education in England". Passed with no corrections. Now working at Fair HQ.
- Natasha Codiroli Mcmaster (2018), maternity cover supervisor with Prof. Alice Sullivan and Dr. Lindsey Macmillan. Thesis title: "Stratification by field of study in Higher Education". Now working at UK Government Cabinet Office.
Previously, Jake has been a Departmental Head of Research in UCL Institute of Education, a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, worked for the House of Commons Education Committee, and completed a PhD in Economics of Education at UCL under the supervision of Profs. Lorraine Dearden and John Micklewright.