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BERA poverty and attainment nexus event

photograph of some of the delegates who attended a BERA event at Queen's University.

The BERA Research Commission series on Poverty and Policy Advocacy aims to improve the life chances of children and youth living in poverty through seminars that provide spaces for academics, teachers and policy makers across the UK to engage in knowledge building about poverty and cumulative multiple deprivations, as these find expression in education and schooling.

On Thursday 10 March the third event in the series was held at Queen’s University Belfast, convened and chaired by Professor Ruth Leitch (back row, left) from our Centre for Shared Education.  This event highlighted child poverty and education concerns for Northern Ireland. The primary focus was the relationship between schools and communities, with the aims of:

  • illustrating education and community patterns in Northern Ireland (NI) and discussing the implications of these for understanding the impact of child poverty;
  • examining how notions of capital impact differently in working and middle class communities and how less desirable outcomes such as restrictions on individual freedoms and a downward leveling of social norms can create a low attainment nexus;
  • exploring schools’ levels of engagement, accessibility, and innovation in terms of raising attainment levels amongst children and young people in low income areas;
  • discussing policy/practice interventions that have been shown to improve children’s educational engagement, attainment and life chances in NI and contrast these with examples of innovation from the other three UK jurisdictions.

During the event, Professor Tony Gallagher welcomed delegates to Queen’s and presented a perspective on education, schools and the community. 

School of Education colleagues Ruth Leitch and Joanne Hughes (back row, second right), with Erik Cownie (Ulster University), presented on the ‘Investigating Links in Achievement and Deprivation’ research project. 

Stephanie Burns and Gerry McMahon (Project Manager, Full Service Community Network) jointly presented on the impact and practice of full service extending schooling models in Northern Ireland.