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Dr Hannah Bayfield

Dr Hannah Bayfield

Research Associate, CASCADE

02920 874086
sbarc|spark, Maindy Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ


I am an early career researcher based in CASCADE. Since October 2019 I have been working on my HCRW-funded post-doctoral fellowship, exploring care experienced young people's opportunities to access and succeed in higher education.

Following a PhD in Urban Studies I spent 2 1/2 years working for Cardiff University's Widening Participation team, heading up a number of projects including mentoring programmes for young people with autism spectrum conditions, and care-experienced young people. This latter experience led to my move to CASCADE.

Between 2018 and 2019 I worked on a qualitative research project commissioned by Social Care Wales to explore the experiences of young people from Wales who have spent time in a Secure Children's Home, working with some of our most vulnerable young people. I then joined the What Works Centre for Children's Social Care, based in CASCADE, working on a number of projects, including a review of Child Criminal Exploitation Literature and a study of care-experienced young people's access to Higher Education.

My research interests include the education of care-experienced young people, child and adolescent mental health, and children's residential care (including secure care).


Academic positions

  • Research Associate, CASCADE (School of Social Sciences): June 2018 - present
  • Widening Participation Officer (Communications and Marketing): January 2016 - June 2018
  • Project Assistant, REACT (School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies): December 2014 - December 2015
  • Doctoral Candidate, Department of Urban Studies (University of Sheffield): October 2011 - October 2015









Current Projects:

Understanding the higher education experiences of care-experienced young people in Wales: Towards a model of best practice

HCRW-funded post-doctoral fellowship. Care-experienced young people in Wales and the UK more widely experience poorer outcomes in a wide range of factors than their peers who do not have experience of social care. These factors include health, poverty and early pregnancy, as well as education. The disparity in educational outcomes is being tackled in a number of ways. As a result of educational research such as the Diamond Review, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are providing more support to care leavers in order to improve their access to university. However, despite a greater understanding of the barriers that this group face in continuing their education to university level, there has been little evidence of whether this support is effective.

This Fellowship aims to understand HEI interventions in Wales that target care-experienced young people, and assess the success or otherwise of these interventions in order to develop a model of best practice. These findings will then be linked with data regarding numbers of care leavers attending Welsh HEIs. Importantly, the Fellowship aims to understand and give voice to the experiences of care-experienced young people who have been through the process of making decisions about their continued education.

Previous Projects:

Launching the CUBE: a restorative approach to a co-produced community centre

March 2021 - March 2022

Between 2021 and 2022 I worked on this ESRC IAA project on Embedding a restorative approach in an innovative service providing intensive child and family support and a co-produced community centre. More details and the final report are available on the CASCADE website

What Works Centre for Children's Social Care

March 2019 - March 2020

Between 2019 and 2020 I worked for the What Works Centre for Children's Social Care, based in CASCADE, primarily on projects regarding Child Criminal Exploitation and care-experienced young people's access to Higher Education.

Secure Children's Homes: The best model of care for vulnerable young people?

June 2018 - February 2019; funded by Social Care Wales

My first role for CASCADE has been working on this Social Care Wales-funded project to explore the experiences of young people from Wales who have spent time in Secure Children's Homes. This qualitative project has worked with some of the most vulnerable young people in Wales, and identified a number of areas where policy change is required to ensure that we are effectively supporting young people at high levels of risk. Findings from the project are due to be launched in June 2019.

Report available from the Social Care Wales website

Confident Futures and Discovery

Between 2016 and 2018 I managed the Confident Futures and Discovery programmes for Cardiff University's Widening Participation team: outreach projects focused on the educational aspiration and attainment of care-experienced young people and young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions. Working for these programmes and researching how higher education's provision for and engagement with these groups led to me taking a role in CASCADE.


Past projects