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Durham University

Department of Geography

News Archive

JRF - Education and poverty: questioning assumptions of current UK educational policy

(11 March 2005)

The aim of this call is to generate a range of broad activities and reviews looking at education beyond its traditional contexts. The rationale behind these should be to question why the current educational system continues to fail to meet the needs of people from low income households and disadvantaged groups and how this might be improved.

Research should aim to address the following issues:

•aspects of the UK educational system that are not working for the most disadvantaged groups, but also when and how it leads to improvements for people on low incomes;

•the assumptions and implications of the current educational policy regime for people in poverty and practical alternatives to those assumptions;

•perceptions of the UK education system by different people on low incomes and how it can be improved to meet their needs;

•positive, non-educational sources which provide useful knowledge and experience, and how these interact with the experience of schooling;

•whether there are different ways of conceptualising education in a more sustainable manner beyond current ‘economic’ paradigms;

•the wider implications of the choice agenda in education for families on low incomes;

•the impact on low income families of the social backgrounds and attitudes of teachers and the culture of teaching as transmitted through the training and management of teachers;

•what can be learned from the educational systems in other countries about the interaction of poverty with education;

•how assumptions of what makes a good learner impact on the experience of schooling for families on low incomes;

•how the intersecting experiences of age, gender, ethnicity, geography and disability are reflected;

Opportunities to compare and contrast the policies of nations within the UK should be taken. Locally-based work is also encouraged providing there is the potential for wider lessons for policy and practice to be drawn out.

It is expected that typical projects will cost between £5,000 and £30,000 will last for six to 12 months or less.