Search type

School of Environment, Education and Development

Research community

Engagement with schools, teachers and pupils is of critical importance for understanding more about education and development.

One of our doctoral students, Claire Forbes, shares some of the latest work occurring through school-research partnerships.

Thesis title

Mapping assets in disadvantaged communities. What assets do communities have to support education and wider life chances and what does this suggest for the actions of schools and other services?


This study will be embedded in a school, which opened in 2010 to serve three socially deprived postcodes in Manchester. The school has set itself up to be a community 'hub' and is seeking to have a substantial impact upon the disadvantaged area that it serves. To achieve this, the school leadership have rejected the traditional 'deficiency-oriented' stance, preferring to embrace an assets-based approach towards their future development and community relations.

As part of an ESRC CASE studentship, my study will involve work with a community interest company, established by the school to develop innovative responses to poor outcomes in the school's highly disadvantaged local areas. Its members consist of local service providers, including representatives from the Adult Education Service, Local Authority Regeneration teams, the Police and the NHS. The group meets approximately four times a year to share perspectives and discuss collaborative strategies to tackle the significant issues faced by the surrounding communities.

Bringing research capacity to the school, this study will not only explore the community assets which might support children to achieve better outcomes in relation to education and their wider life chances, but also it will support the school to develop its future agenda and actions by responding to the evidence-base created.

Find out more