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ESRC seminar series: ‘Breaking the link between education, disadvantage and place: What future for area-based initiatives?’. Why do Neighbourhoods Matter in Education?. Dr Carlo Raffo Reader in Equity in Urban Education University of Manchester. A reminder of the issues.

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why do neighbourhoods matter in education

ESRC seminar series: ‘Breaking the link between education, disadvantage and place: What future for area-based initiatives?’

Why do Neighbourhoods Matter in Education?

Dr Carlo Raffo

Reader in Equity in Urban Education

University of Manchester

a reminder of the issues
A reminder of the issues
  • Educational disadvantage is found in all parts of the UK but is specifically concentrated in poor urban neighbourhoods
    • De-industrialised cities, former mining areas and industrial coastal towns and ports
  • However….
    • Spatial dispersion of educational attainments in poor urban areas not consistent between neighbourhoods
  • Neigbourhoods matters!
what is it about neighbourhoods that matter
What is it about Neighbourhoods that matter?
  • In much education policy disadvantaged urban places are viewed as ‘containers’ where the concentration of educational disadvantage is at its greatest. These places contain many common attributes including:
    • Low levels of employment
    • Poor health and housing
    • High levels of crime and teenage pregnancy
    • High levels of relative poverty
    • High levels of NEET etc etc
  • Problem with this approach is that it does not account for the way that equally disadvantaged neighbourhoods can be differently categorised neighbourhood types with correspondingly better or worse educational results (Webber and Butler)
  • There is something about place, over and beyond economic, environmental and demographic descriptors, that matters
    • Evidence to suggest that the identity and actions of young people and families reflects the cultural, economic and historic social relations of particular places/neighbourhoods.
      • Structure of feeling
    • An understanding of these placed based social relations can be achieved by examining the specific interpenetrations of the macro, meso and micro over time in neighbourhoods
    • Educational identity of young people, although by influenced by schools, predominately manifests itself through these interpenetrations
  • What does all of this mean for neighbourhood/area-based initiatives?
  • In the first instance this depends on what forms of educational equity we want to pursue through our area-based initiatives
what types of educational equity are we trying to achieve in disadvantaged urban contexts
What types of educational equity are we trying to achieve in disadvantaged urbancontexts?
  • A focus on Redistribution and/or Recognition (Nancy Fraser)
    • Redistribution of educational outcomes
      • Are we trying to ‘narrow the educational gap’ between those young people experiencing the interpenetration of disadvantage and place (including interrelated variables of gender, ethnicity) and their more affluent counterparts?
    • Issues of Recognition and educational processes
      • Is there an educational misrecognition of individuals and groups experiencing the interpenetration of disadvantage and place and, if so, does it matter?
  • What are the theories of change for educational equity in disadvantaged areas?
    • Redistribution
    • Recognition
    • Neighbourhood/Place
a theory of change for area based educational equity a focus on redistribution
A theory of change for area based educational equity – a focus on redistribution
  • What creates area based educational inequalities?
    • Everyday neighbourhood realities of economic disadvantage linked to evolving educational identities that create barriers to engagement with education and that result in distributive educational inequalities
    • These inequalities reflect a cross-cutting set of urban place-based macro, meso and micro processes
  • Stages to the theory of change - Problems, interventions, proposed outcomes
stages to the theory of change problems interventions proposed outcomes
Stages to the theory of change - Problems, interventions, proposed outcomes
  • Neighbourhood/Area problems
    • Young people need individual, social, cultural and economic resources to improve their general educational identities and educational attainments.
    • Young people, their families, neighbourhoods and communities, in varying degrees, and depending on neighbourhood experiences, lack the appropriate economic, cultural and social capital
      • lack of local job opportunities for families,
      • lack of appropriate role models and networks of support,
      • lack of parenting skills,
      • lack of appropriate housing, health and transport etc
    • Challenges of schooling in disadvantaged areas
      • Difficulties of recruiting and retaining good teachers/headteachers
      • Appropriateness of curriculum
      • Behaviour and disengagement
  • Taken together these problems create low educational attainment
types of area based interventions
Types of area based interventions
  • Improved schools - interventions within schools in disadvantaged areas
    • Targeted provision to young people with additional needs eg EAL, SEN, T&G, mentoring
    • A focus on classroom improvements – the use of data, direct instruction, assessment and differentiation etc
    • Collaboration between schools
    • Curriculum – choice (eg applied courses) and socio-emotional (eg SEAL)
    • Improved leadership
  • Improved families - interventions beyond schools but linked to families in disadvantaged neighbourhoods
    • A focus on supporting parents to support young people’s learning eg Sure Start
    • A focus on interagency working in order to reduce barriers to educational success eg Full-Service extended schools, Integrated social services
    • Families and school choice
  • Improved neighbourhoods - interventions beyond schools and linked to disadvantaged places
    • A focus on environmental factors (places not people)
      • Housing (mixed income communities), transport infrastructure
    • A focus on employment regeneration
    • A focus on health eg Health Action Zones
    • Integrating strategies – New Deal for Communities
  • Enhanced economic resources to individuals - interventions linked to national welfare and fiscal policies
    • Taxation
    • Benefits
proposed outcomes
Proposed Outcomes
  • Reductions in poverty
  • Improved employment, health, housing, transport opportunities for families and young people
  • Integrated services provided more targeted care and support for young people and families
  • Improved parenting skills and hence support for young people with schooling
  • Improved schools through school choice; enhanced curriculum choices; improved teaching and learning, and superior educational leadership
  • All of the above leading to redistributed educational attainments
a theory of change for area based educational equity a focus on recognition
A theory of change for area based educational equity – a focus on recognition
  • What creates area-based educational inequalities?
    • Misrecognition of particular groups and individuals through a cross-cutting set of macro, meso and micro institutional status injuries that result in a lack of participatory parity at every level of civic life. This is particularly reflected in the educational identities of disadvantaged young people and their families and their experiences of school
  • Stages to the theory of change - Problems, interventions, outcomes
  • Problems for area based initiatives – dealing with status injuries
    • Globalisation and the creation of urban outcasts
    • The stigmatization of place and communities
    • The institutional devaluing of individuals – eg racism, sexism
    • A lack of participatory parity in civic life
    • A lack of understanding of cultural difference by institutions and policy
    • Education in schools embodying all the above through formal curriculum and assessment (academic), particular forms of teaching and learning strategies (streaming) and the types of engagement with young people, parents and communities (surveillance and policing)
    • Taken together this misrecognition generates a disengagement with, and resistance to, education by young people and families in poor neighbourhoods
types of area based interventions1
Types of area-based interventions
  • Community-orientated schooling - bringing the community into schools
    • schools moving from being “enterprise” orientated institutions (concerned with national policy drives for improved educational attainments) to being “neighbourhood” orientated (concerned with advocating the cultural recognition of young people, families & communities).
    • Schools and teachers engaging in the development of area/placed based curricula that reach out and enable the different “funds of knowledge” (Gonzales et al., 2005) of young people and communities to be respected and utilised in schools.
    • enhanced democratic governance of schools
  • Schools and ‘authentic student voice’
    • understanding the valued educational capabilities of disadvantaged young people and supporting their freedom and autonomy to make informed choices and to have control over their educational lives.
    • curricular and pedagogical relationships in the classroom that that give voice, choice and independence to young people (Hattam et al, 2009) and their narratives (Goodson, 2008).
proposed outcomes1
Proposed Outcomes
  • Improved self and group identity/dignity
  • Improved equitable relationship between schools/teachers, young people and their families
  • Improved understanding of, and empathy towards, communities and neighbourhoods by schools/teachers
  • Improved local democratic governance of schools
  • Improved engagement with schooling
  • All of the above leading to improved educational recognition and parity of participation of disadvantaged individuals and groups in schools
points for discussion
Points for discussion
  • How might current approaches to educational area based initiatives (ABIs) be classified and which type of educational equity appears to dominate?
  • Should an integrated approach to area based initiatives and educational equity be developed that focuses on both redistribution and recognition and that reflects issues of place?
    • What would this look like and where might the tensions be?
  • What are the problems of ABIs that predominately focus on either educational redistribution or educational recognition or fail to recognise place?