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Manchester Institute of Education

Current and recent work

Removal of spare bedroom subsidy: impacts on children, schools and children’s services ('bedroom tax')


The Coalition government introduced a series of major changes to housing subsidies in the UK, with reforms that affect both private renters and social housing tenants.

One of these was the 'bedroom tax' from April 2013, renters in social housing get a reduction in Housing Benefit if they are deemed to have more space than they need. The effects of 'the bedroom tax' are greatest in northern cities. An estimated 45,000 households are affected in Greater Manchester (New Economy 2013). 

This pilot research project identified implications for children and schools of the ongoing reforms to UK housing welfare, including the removal of the bedroom tax. 

Our exploratory research investigated the impacts of this change on children, and on their schools and other children’s services; about one-third of affected households have children. We looked at the effects on children’s well-being, family life, social support and access to schooling for those who move to smaller properties, as well as the strategies that families adopt to avoid moving, such as cutting back on food, fuel or other household expenditures, or increasing working hours. Schools and children’s services were also found to be affected, through changing rolls or increasing demands. The research was a pilot project within Greater Manchester, which explored:

  • The scale of the issue and its spatial distribution, including the potential implications for school rolls.
  • The ways in which individual families were responding to the changes and their implications for children, with particular attention to how their strategies evolved over a six month period, who were interviewed at two time points six months apart.
  • The range and volume of agency and professional interventions prompted by the reforms, as indicated through interviews with key agencies/professionals in the two case study areas.

The research covered the welfare reforms in general, however, with a main focus on the 'bedroom tax', since this was also having the widest impact in Greater Manchester.

The immediate outcome of the work was empirical evidence on current impacts as indicated from these area and family case studies, which will be of direct relevance to policy and practice stakeholders in the city, for example, housing associations, local authorities, schools, third sector organisations. 

Associated publications 

  • Winter, L. A., Burman, E., Hanley, T., Kalambouka, A., & Mccoy, L. (2016). Education, Welfare Reform and Psychological Well-Being: A Critical Psychology Perspective. British Journal of Educational Studies, 1-17. . DOI: 10.1080/00071005.2016.1171823
  • Greenstein, A., Burman, E., Kalambouka, A. and Sapin, K. (in press) Construction and Deconstruction of 'Family' by the ‘Bedroom Tax’, British Politics
  • Burman, E., Greenstein, A, Kalambouka, A. and Sapin, K. (in press) ‘Subjects of, or subject to, policy reform? A Foucauldian discourse analysis of regulation and resistance in UK narratives of educational impacts of welfare cuts – the case of the ‘bedroom tax’ Education Policy Analysis Archives

Theorising the relations between education, psychology and childhood studies

Associated publications 

  • Burman, E. (2017) Deconstructing Developmental Psychology. London: BrunnerRoutledge 
  • Burman, E. and Cook, D. (Eds) (2017/18) Encyclopaedia of Childhood and Childhood Studies, to be published by Sage 
  • Burman, E. (2015) ' Knowing Foucault, Knowing You: 'raced'/classed and gendered subjectivities in the pedagogical state', Pedagogy, Culture & Society, DOI: 10.1080/14681366.2015.1057215 
  • Alves, I., Andreasson, I., Karlsson, Y. & Miles, S. (in press - 2016) Constructions of student identity in talk and text: A focus on special educational needs in Sweden and England. In Beach, D. & Dyson, A. (eds) Equity in Education: A two country comparison of England and Sweden. London: Tufnell Press 
  • Burman, E. (in press) ‘A necessary struggle-in-relation? Chapter for B. Mayall, R. Rosen, K. Twarmley & A. Varley (Eds) Feminism and the politics of Childhood: Friends or foes? London: University College London Press.

Decolonisation and childhood/educational theory and practice

Associated publications

  • Burman, E. (2015) ‘It shouldn’t happen here’. Cultural and relational dynamics structured around the ‘poor child’, chapter for Lucy Hopkins and Arathi Sriprakash (Eds.) The 'Poor Child': the cultural politics of education, development and childhood, London: Routledge. 
  • Burman, E. (2016) ' "Fanon’s Other Children: psychopolitical and pedagogical implications', Race, Ethnicity & Education DOI: 10.1080/13613324.2016.1150832 
  • Burman, E. (2016) Fanon's Lacan and the traumatogenic child: psychoanalytic reflections on the dynamics of colonialism and racism', Theory, Culture & Society, 33(4): 77-102. DOI  0263276415598627.
  • Burman, E. (2016) Fanon and the child: Pedagogies of subjectification and transformation, Curriculum Inquiry, 46:3, 265-285, DOI: 10.1080/03626784.2016.1168263
  • Burman, E. (2016) ' Fanon, Foucault, Feminisms: Psychoeducation, theoretical psychology and political change', Theory & Psychology DOI: 10.1177/0959354316653484

Critical analysis of discourses of early intervention

Associated publications

  • Burman, E. (forthcoming) (Re)sourcing the Character and Resilience Manifesto: Suppression, slippage and selective representation of its documentary supports. 
  • Emery, C. (in press). A critical discourse analysis of the New Labour discourse of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) across schools in England and Wales; conversations with policymakers. Education Policy Analysis Archives.

Supplementary schools as sites of learning and a key interface between formal and informal learning contexts

Associated publications

  • Burman, E. and Miles, S. (forthcoming) ‘What do supplementary schools supplement?’ 
  • Wilson, H. and Warren, S. (submitted) The geographies of education and the politics of learning: race, religion and supplementary education, Progress in Human Geography

Intergenerational learning for environmental sustainability

Associated publications

Creative and participatory methods for promoting representation and participation and challenging inequalities

BERA Commission on Poverty and Policy Advocacy and the Manchester Pupil Voice Network 

University of Manchester partners: Carl Emery, Erica Burman and Ruth Lupton

Building on the work undertaken with young people in Manchester High Schools on education policy and identity we are now working with the BERA Commission on Poverty and Policy Advocacy.  A Community Forum has been established though a series of workshops leading up to the Forum.  The aim is to integrate perspectives from young people, their parents, teachers, academics and local policy makers. Through this activity an Education Charter is being collectively drafted that will go forward to the BERA final report and will be disseminated to policy makers and will inform BERA about future research. 

University of Manchester, Brunswick Anchor project

The project is led by the University of Manchester, with Carl Emery in particular working with Manchester City Council and S4B Housing. The overall aim of the project is to explore how the University might usefully work as an ‘anchor institution’. Anchor institutions, also known as Eds and Meds (education and medical establishments), are generally understood as large geographically place based organisations that have been located in the community for generations and provide economic, social and cultural benefits to the locality in which they reside (Adams, 2003; Perry, 2011; Taylor et al, 2013; Patterson and Silvermann, 2013; Harkavy, 2014). The project explores how the university can best work in partnership with the Brunswick neighbourhood to contribute to local developments. The project aims to produce a draft strategy – informed and agreed by local residents, professionals working in Brunswick, and the University – about the role the University might usefully play. Key to this programme are exploring and understanding issues of local power, community identity and the role of power in brokering community/university partnerships. 

Associated publications

  • Miles, S & Howes, A. (eds) (2015) Photography in Educational Research: Critical reflections from diverse contexts. Oxon: Routledge.

Emotions and relationality in psychological and educational research

EU Erasmus + Programme – Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania

Learning to Be: Development of practices and methodologies for assessing social, emotional and health skills within education systems.

Carl Emery has acted as expert consultant for the project on the independent monitoring committee. Offering critical guidance on developing a social and emotional learning assessment model that moves beyond objective list theory and reflects subject identity and relational factors. 

Associated publications

Youth work in schools to raise awareness of lesbian, gay, bi and trans identities

Associated publications

Critical disability studies and educational engagements

Associated publications

  • Bailey, S.(2015). ADHD Mythology. In: Lesnik-Oberstein, K. (Ed.) Rethinking Disability Theory and Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Burman, E., Greenstein, A. and Kumar, M. (2015) 'Frames and debates for disability, childhood and the global South: Introducing the Special Issue', Disability and the Global South, 2, 2: 563-569.  (Open access) ISSN 2050 -7364.
  • Burman, E., Greenstein, A. and Kumar, M. (2015) (eds) Disabled children and disabling childhoods in the global South,Disability and the Global South, 2, 2: 563-685. (open access) -
  • Miles, S. and Croft, A. (in press – 2016) Including children with disabilities in education: Insights from low and middle income countries. In Tejero-Hughes, M. & Talbott, E. (eds) The Handbook of Research on Diversity in Special Education. Wiley.
  • Miles, S. and Alborz, A. (2014) Sectarianism and Invasion: the challenge of promoting educational equality in Iraq following armed conflict, pp187-194. In Carr, V. and Mitchell, D. (eds) Crises, Conflict and Disability: Ensuring Equality. London: Routledge.
  • Miles, S., Merumeru, L. and Lene, D. (2014) Making sense of inclusive education in the Pacific region: networking as a way forward. Childhood, 21 (3), 339–353
  • Miles, S., Merumeru, L. and Lene, D. (2014) Using networking to promote inclusive education: collaborative action research in the Pacific region. In C. Forlin and Loreman, T. (eds) Measuring Inclusive Education. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

Methodological interventions in childhood and educational research

Associated publications

  • Burman, E. (2015) 'Educational intimacies: writing bodily relations in early childhood and education', In Anne Beate Reinertsen and Ann Merete Otterstad (Eds.) Metodefestival og Øyeblikksrealisme [Method-celebration/party and moments of realism] Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. 
  • Burman, E. (in press) ‘From subjectification to subjectivity in educational research relationships’, in Jessica Lester, Chad Lochmiller & Rachael Gabriel (Eds) Discursive perspectives on education policy and implementation, London: Palgrave. 
  • Burman, E. (In press) 'Towards a posthuman developmental psychology of child, families and communities', For C.Højholt (Ed.) Section on ‘Child, Families and Communities’, in M. Fleer and B. Van Oers (Eds) International Handbook on Early Childhood Education and Development. (New York: Springer) 
  • Burman, E. (in press) 'Power and politics in child development research' in B. Hopkins, E. Geangu and S. Linkenauger (Editors) Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development. 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Burman, E. (in press) 'Contingent connections between German and British childhoods: Marion Daltrop', in S. Dintner & R. Shneider (Eds) Conceptions of Childhood in Contemporary Britain. London: Ashgate. 
  • Emery, C. (2014). Promoting researcher wellbeing: emerging and changing identities, in Gunter, H., Mills, C. & Hall, D. eds., 2014. Education policy research: design and practice at a time of rapid reform, London: Bloomsbury.
  • Parker, I. (ed.) (2015) Handbook of Critical Psychology. London and New York: Routledge. [ISBN: 978-1-84872-218-7].
  • Parker, I. (2015) Critical Discursive Psychology (2nd Edition). London: Palgrave Macmillan. [ISBN: 9781137485595].
  • Parker, I. (2015) Psychology After the Crisis: Scientific paradigms and political debate. Abingdon/New York: Routledge [ISBN: 978-1-84872-207-1]. 
  • Parker, I. (2015) Psychology After Deconstruction: Erasure and Social Reconstruction. Abingdon/New York: Routledge [ISBN: 978-1-84872-209-5]. 
  • Parker, I. (2015) Psychology After Discourse Analysis: Concepts, methods, critique. Abingdon/New York: Routledge [ISBN: 978-1-84872-211-8]. 
  • Parker, I. and Shotter, J. (eds) (2015) Deconstructing Social Psychology. Hove/New York: Psychology Press [Psychology Library Editions: Social Psychology, originally published 1990] [ISBN: 978-1-13-884454-4].

Discourses of prevention and radicalisation

Associated publications

  • Alijah, Z. and Chantler, K. (2015) “Forced Marriage Is a Child Protection Matter” In Domestic Violence and Protecting Children ed. Cathy Humphries and Nicky Stanley, 97-112. London: Jessica Kingsley.