New project launches to combat inequalities in education

Written by: Joe Stafford

The University of Manchester and Tutor Trust have joined forces to launch a new research-based social justice project which seeks to combat inequalities in education. 

Over the next year, Tutor Trust - the award-winning tutoring organisation which provides academic support to disadvantaged young people - will carry out a series of seminars, surveys, training and research activities supported by the University. 

Staff and volunteers will critically explore what is known about poverty locally and nationally, providing a better understanding of communities across the country, and will apply this knowledge to make changes to their organisational practice and policy. 

The project is being led by Dr Carl Emery and Louisa Dawes from The University of Manchester, who have both previously been teachers in the city and have vast experience of working with a range of regional and national policymakers and practitioners. 

Their specialist areas are poverty, power and place with an emphasis on mental health and the power of language in positioning inequalities. 

Together, they run the Local Matters programme which advocates a different response from schools and community organisations to addressing the needs of children and families living in poverty. Local Matters operates across the Northwest of England working with local authorities and governing bodies as well as with the National Education Union. 

Dr Emery and Louisa Dawes believe the research will support the Trust in supporting the least advantaged young people. “Too often, policymakers and practitioners see poverty as having a simple beginning, middle and end - it is viewed as something that can be fixed if we all just 'do better',” they said. 

“We are delighted to be launching this programme with Tutor Trust to use research to really explore what poverty looks like, and how we can respond to it.”

“This is a vital piece of research that will, we hope, make our tuition even more impactful and relevant to the communities and young people we serve,” said Tutor Trust Co-Founders Nick Bent and Abigail Shapiro. “We are excited to see how this latest project takes shape and what we learn from it – we think there is huge potential for it to have a positive impact both on our tuition and even more widely in education.” 

Third sector educational organisations play an increasingly important role in addressing poverty and social disadvantage through their programmes with young people. This is why we’re delighted to team up with the award-winning Tutor Trust to co-create new insights and methods that can be applied by all charities wishing to improve their understanding and approach to poverty through their educational outreach work.

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility

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