Professor George Leckie

Professor of Social Statistics

  • E-mail:
  • Telephone: +44 (0)117 455 2817
  • Address: Room 3.15b, School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1JA


Biography and research interests

I am a Professor of Social Statistics and Co-Director of the Centre for Multilevel Modelling (CMM) at the School of Education, University of Bristol, UK.

My methodological interests are in the development, application and dissemination of multilevel, longitudinal, and dyadic data models to analyse educational and other administrative and survey data. My substantive interests focus on design, analysis, and communication issues surrounding school performance measures and league tables, especially the use of value-added models for estimating school effects on student achievement for accountability and choice purposes.

I was awarded the Frances Wood Medal in the Royal Statistical Society's 2017 honours for my contributions to Social Statistics over the past 10 years, especially my school league table research.

I am currently Principal Investigator on an ESRC secondary data analysis initiative grant looking at the 2020 GCSE and A-level 'exam grades fiasco' and a Co-Investigator on an ESRC Embedding methodological development in social science research grant, and a Co-Investigator on a Flanders Research Foundation grant. Previously, I held an ESRC Standard grant, an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant, and have been a Co-Investigator on four other substantial ESRC and MRC grants as well as Swedish and Canadian research council grants.

My first-authored research includes publications in leading applied statistics journals: Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A; Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics; Journal of Educational Measurement; Journal of Statistical Software; and Psychological Methods; as well as substantive educational journals: British Educational Research Journal; School Effectiveness and Improvement. 

My co-authored research includes publications in further applied statistics journals: Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation; Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics; Sociological Methodology; Statistics in Medicineand Statistical Methods in Medical Research; and other top substantive journals: American Journal of EpidemiologyAmerican Sociological ReviewCriminology; Developmental Psychology; Journal of Management Studies; Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.

I have taught over 70 multilevel modelling short courses across UK, Europe, Australia and US.

Research grants

I have been grant funded 40% of my time over the period 2010/11 through 2023/24. My grants as Principal Investigator sum to £1 million while my grants as Co-Investigator sum to £7 million.

Current grants

  • 2023-2026 Understanding intersectionality: developing intersectional quantitative methods, with applications to health inequalities and social mobility. ESRC Embedding methodological development in social science research: 2022. £827,000Co-Investigator.
  • 2022-2026 The role of sample characteristics in the stability of value-added estimates of school effects: sample size, student mobility and sample heterogeneity. The Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), £200,000Co-Investigator.
  • 2021-2023 The 2020 GCSE and A-level 'exam grades fiasco': A secondary data analysis of students' grades and Ofqual's algorithm, ESRC Secondary Data Analysis grant, £299,000Principal Investigator.

Past grants

Journal articles

I have published 80 journal articles resulting in 4278 Google Scholar citations and an h-index of 35 (as of April 2023).


My teaching is distinctive in that I deliver training and capacity building in introductory through to advanced quantitative methods. I do this for both post-graduate students and researchers (academic and non-academic) and I do this across the social, behavioural and medical sciences (nationally and internationally).

Current teaching

At masters level, I am a Pathway leader for the MSc Education (Open Pathway). The pathway takes around 120 students per year. I am Unit Director on Multivariate Statistical Methods in Education teaching 30 students per year and Unit Tutor on Statistics in Education teaching 150 students per year.

At PhD level, I supervise nine PhD students. Several of these are funded by ESRC/EPSRC/University scholarships. All these students apply multilevel modelling to address important substantive research questions in the social sciences.

At researcher level, I run two three-day multilevel modelling courses per year for external academic researchers and PhD students. These courses are fee-paying.

I also maintain our popular LEMMA multilevel modelling online course and have contributed an extensive set of training materials to this resource.

Past teaching

At Undergraduate level, I have taught sessions on Year 1 Convincing Stories and I contributed to the design of Year 2 Educational Statistics.

At Masters level, I was Unit Tutor on MSc Mathematics and Programming Skills, teaching one one-third of this unit. I have also taught sessions on various other masters units. I have supervised masters dissertations and have been a personal tutor at this level.

At EdD-level I have taught sessions on various units and supervised EdD students.

At PhD-level, I delivered four two-day short courses per year for seven years on various topics in advanced quantitative methods as part of the ESRC SWDTP Advanced Quantitative Methods Pathway. I have also seen five PhD students to completion, four of who were funded by ESRC scholarships. I have been an external PhD examiner for students in Australia, Canada, and UK.

At researcher level, I have taught over 70 multilevel modelling short courses across UK, Europe, Australia and US, including. These include courses for the Eurofound European Agency in Dublin, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

In terms of teaching related admin I co-lead the M-level Education Open Pathway and I am the School Academic Integrity Officer.

Professional activities

I play an active role in the Royal Statistical Society. Since 2008, I have taught an annual two-day course on multilevel modelling for the society's short-course programme. Previously, I was an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A (2017-2019). I have also sat on the Social Statistics Section committee and the Professional Development Centre committee. I have published in the society's Series A (Statistics in Society) journal and Significance magazine and have peer reviewed for Series A and Series C. I have presented regularly at the society's annual conference and at various society local group meetings.

I co-organised the DfE funded NPD User Group annual meetings (2014-2021). I am on an advisory group for several ESRC and other grants. Previously I have been on an ESRC commissioning panel and a member of the ESRC Steered Studentship Assurance Checking virtual panel for their Advanced Quantitative Methods pathway. I have also been on an expert group for the Sutton Trust and two expert groups for the Office for Students.

I have peer-reviewed grants for national and international eight research councils and peer-reviewed articles for 27 journals.

I have worked or advised on a range of government and other external projects. These include: Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, Catholic University of Portugal, Colombian Evaluation Institute, Higher Education Academy, Home Office, Israel Academy of Sciences, National Assessment Agency, ACT testing company, National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements Slovak Republic, Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Pearson Education, RAND Europe, Swedish Education Department, The Times and Sunday Times Data Analysis Team, Trinidad and Tobago Education Department, World Bank.

Image of George Leckie
Professor George Leckie
Edit this page