Ruth Lupton and Martina Street

Martina's thesis is entitled 'Exploration of a Sure Start advisory board's contribution to improving educational outcomes and wider life chances of young children and families within an inner city area characterised by high levels'.


Photograph of Ruth Lupton

What are the areas in which you most like to supervise?

My interests lie in researching poverty and inequality in Education in the United Kingdom. In particular, I focus on spatial inequalities within UK cities. I am interested in engaging with both quantitative and qualitative research.

Why do you enjoy supervising Martina?

Martina is studying while also working full time. Her work explores how parents, young children (under five) and early education professionals understand what it means to 'thrive', and what helps and hinders thriving.  She is working in a low-income area of Greater Manchester. Ultimately she wants to find ways in which these different 'stakeholders' can work more effectively together to help children thrive.

I find Martina a challenging and inspiring student to work with.  I like it that her academic work is informed by and driven by her own experience as a practitioner and her commitment to better lives for disadvantaged children and families.  She wants to contribute to policy and practice as well as academic knowledge, and she is always pulled back to the hard realities of life for her research participants. That is important and it challenges me as an academic to do the same. 

But her approach to her studies is also inspirational. She’s very open to learning new ideas and considering different theoretical perspectives; she reads voraciously; she is self-reflective; she consistently examines her pre-existing ideas through a critical lens and challenges herself as she considers her data and readings. Martina exemplifies what doctoral studies are all about.  I enjoy supervising her and feel privileged to have the opportunity.


Photograph of Martina Street

What's your research about?

I work full time for a Local Authority as Children's Centre Manager. I am responsible for co-ordinating services locally so we achieve better outcomes for very young children, particularly those who live in areas often characterised as disadvantaged. My research is looking at what these 'better outcomes' are from the perspective of parents, early years educators and under fives themselves. If there are different views, how can we work together to support children to thrive?

What's it like to be supervised by Ruth at the Manchester Institute of Education?

Ruth is great! She is a very knowledgeable and well respected academic in the field of poverty and disadvantage. I also value her for her patience and calmness when I get confused and overwhelmed by what sometimes feels like the enormity of it all. At the moment she is helping me to make sense of the complex data I have collected. Fortunately my understanding of the circumstances and conditions currently contributing to the inequity amongst children and their families is broadening - and therefore so too is my ability to be responsive.