Search type

Manchester Institute of Education

Claire Forbes

Previous education

  • MA Education, University of Manchester, 2009-11 - Distinction
  • PGCE (MFL), University of Manchester, 2008-9 - Withers Prize for Excellence
  • MA (Hons) French, University of St Andrews, 1999-2004 - First Class with Distinction in Spoken French

Thesis title

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


  • Professor Alan Dyson
  • Dr Kirstin Kerr

Research details

How to improve the educational outcomes and wider life chances of children living in disadvantages areas is a major policy concern.  Over the last 15 years, what schools might contribute to this has been a particular focus.  Repeated policy efforts have sought to ensure schools' internal practices are as good as they can be.  They have also sought to involve schools in community-oriented strategies aimed at tackling disadvantages beyond the school gates, and have often focused on internal family practices and provided parenting support.  But important though these approaches may have been, they have tended either to write communities out of the picture entirely, or cast them only in terms of deficits which schools need to make good.

My PhD sets out to challenge this stance.  It will do this by supporting professionals to look beyond internal school and family processes, and to act on much more complex understandings of school-community relations.  Rather than seeing disadvantaged communities simply as a series of problems to be fixed, it will credit disadvantaged communities with greater potential to support positive outcomes, and will seek to identify resources within disadvantaged communities (beyond internal school and family processes) which could support improved educational outcomes and life chances.

The study is embedded within a partner school with a view to exploring the community resources (both tangible and intangible, and lying beyond internal school or family practices) which might support children to achieve better outcomes in relation to education and their wider life chances, as well as supporting the school's future agenda and actions by responding to the evidence base created.

Research interests

  • Assets based community development
  • Education policy
  • Education and equality
  • School and community relationships
  • Student voice
  • Ethnography

Contact details