All posts by Katy Vigurs

Academic in the School of Education at Staffordshire University, England. Co-convenor of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Social Justice SIG.

The Role of Ethnicity in Admissions to Russell Group Universities

Steven Jonespost by STEVEN JONES
Senior Lecturer, Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester

Here’s an excerpt from a UCAS personal statement written recently by an applicant to a Russell Group university:

There are various times where I have been a team member such as in hockey, this is where we have to understand our team member’s strengths and weaknesses to evaluate best positions, it makes us understand that one’s ability may be skilful but can always be tackled by two. We had to quickly judge aspects; we also understood how goals and motivation can go through team members, as high motivation can motivate another.

Continue reading The Role of Ethnicity in Admissions to Russell Group Universities

Leading Human Beings in Schools

Jonathan YoungPost by JONATHAN YOUNG
Doctoral Researcher, University of Leicester

I am writing in response to the thoughts expressed by both Diane Reay and Robert Loe on this blog. Diane recognised the problem of high stakes testing in schools, which, if given too much importance in schools, overlooks the wider roles of developing character and non-cognitive skills. Robert recognised humans as ‘society’s greatest resource’ and wrote about the importance of relational health in schools. I would like to add my thoughts to this issue by focussing on relationships in schools. Continue reading Leading Human Beings in Schools

The challenge of shaping socially responsible teachers

Carmen Mohamedpost by CARMEN MOHAMED
Assistant Professor, Primary and Early Years’ Education, The University of Nottingham

If, as a community of social justice advocates, we recognise that all is not well in education can those of us engaged in training teachers create new ways of working together to act upon solutions? Many of us are engaged in research activity which is deconstructing how inequalities are perpetuated through policy and practice in schools in the UK, however, research can be a lonely and isolating business and it is only through reading published books and articles that we are able to build on each other’s ideas. Continue reading The challenge of shaping socially responsible teachers

Building a Case for Relational Reform in Education: Towards a Relational Pedagogy

Rob Loepost by ROBERT LOE
Education Research Director, Relational Schools Project

Why Relational Education?

To establish an argument for the Relational reform of educational organisations there is a requirement to establish first the goal of such organisations. I would contend that the development of any society comes through the maturing process of its members to reflect the directions a society wishes to take, and thus to influence how resources like land, capital, and human resources (arguably, society’s greatest resource) are deployed in the future[1] (Schluter, 2006). Continue reading Building a Case for Relational Reform in Education: Towards a Relational Pedagogy

Education and equality: A critique of the ‘poverty of aspiration’ agenda

Kim AllenJon Rainfordpost by JON RAINFORD & KIM ALLEN
University of Bedfordshire and Manchester Metropolitan University

A recent post on this blog by Penny-Jane Burke referred to the idea of ‘raising aspirations’ as a central motif of government higher education policy. This discourse of ‘raising aspiration’ endures within recent higher education policy as well as the government’s social mobility agenda and is far from new. It is not only a routine feature of national policy. It also permeates the institutional policies of the full spectrum of higher education institutions. From traditional, elite institutions such as Oxford to newer ones such as Plymouth or Bucks New University, many continue to use the term raising aspiration in promotional material. Continue reading Education and equality: A critique of the ‘poverty of aspiration’ agenda

Access to and Widening Participation in Higher Education

Penny Burkepost by PENNY JANE BURKE
Professor of Education and Director of the Paulo Freire Institute-UK
University of Roehampton

The hegemony of global neoliberalism has gradually transformed the landscape of higher education, profoundly reorienting equity discourses away from social justice and towards economic imperatives. Struggles over the right to higher education have been articulated over the past 15 years through the now well-established ‘widening participation’ (WP) policy agenda. When New Labour came to power in 1997, it placed WP at the heart of higher education reforms, with a strong and enduring emphasis on ‘raising aspirations’. WP continues to be a central tenet of HE policy under the 2010 Coalition government, attracting considerable public and higher education institution (HEI) funding. Continue reading Access to and Widening Participation in Higher Education

Children’s Zones…Children’s Communities

Liz Toddpost by LIZ TODD
Professor of Educational Inclusion at Newcastle University

We must reduce the educational attainment ‘gap’! I agree – 21% of the poorest fifth managing to gain five good GCSEs compared to 75% of the top quintile is unacceptable. Recent government strategy has been to provide schools with a ‘pupil premium’, money for each child receiving free school meals, for the school to use on interventions that raise attainment. I know from our DfE funded research that this is extremely valuable for many schools, although for others it does not come near making up for the fall in funding. Not all children on free school meals underachieve and schools have been wise in the targeting of support to those who need it. But we need a different solution to really make a difference. Continue reading Children’s Zones…Children’s Communities

Social Class, Ethnicity and STEM Participation

Heather_MendickLouise Archerpost by LOUISE ARCHER and HEATHER MENDICK
King’s College London and Brunel University

Background – the issue

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are widely recognised as crucial for the UK’s economic prosperity[i]. It is broadly accepted that there is a need to increase the number of people studying and working in (STEM) at all levels[ii]. Although debates remain over how many future scientists the economy needs[iii], there is substantial concern, particularly from government and employers, about a growing STEM skills gap. Continue reading Social Class, Ethnicity and STEM Participation