Recognise how poverty, power and place shape educational experiences

Dr Louisa Dawes, Manchester Institute of Education (MIE)

Dr Louisa Dawes and Dr Carl Emery

Dr Dawes and Dr Emery are Senior Lecturers in Manchester Institute of Education (MIE). Prior to working at the University, both had extensive experience of teaching in schools serving low-income schools and their research focuses on inequalities in education linked to poverty. Through their research programme, Local Matters, they work extensively in educational contexts across the North West of England.

The government's strategies for addressing poverty in education use broad interventions that overlook the unique experiences of students from low-income families. Educational leaders and teachers struggle with standardised approaches that prioritise effectiveness over addressing the specific needs of their schools.

Now is the time to...

  • recognise, through government policy, the fluid and contextually sensitive nature of poverty;
  • redistribute time, money, access, power and activities based on real need rather than myths or big data sets;
  • encourage policymakers to seek out and create safe spaces for families and children living in poverty to relate their experiences rather than fitting into ascribed and standardised roles;
  • give schools greater autonomy in the design of their curricula and to be trusted in their professional judgement of how to teach based on their knowledge of students and their lived experiences rather than standardised and prescriptive approaches.

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Related research 

  • Learn more about The University of Manchester’s global inequalities research; advancing our understanding of the world in which we live and addressing inequalities to improve lives
  • Learn more about the University's policy engagement institute, Policy@Manchester, which connects researchers with policymakers and influencers, nurtures long-term policy engagement relationships, and seeks to enhance stakeholder understanding of pressing policy challenges

Read more about research in the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE) at The University of Manchester.