New project launched to combat inequalities in education

An award-winning tutoring organisation has joined forces with the University of Manchester to launch a project aiming to combat inequalities in education throughout the North West.

Tutor Trust – which provides academic support to disadvantaged young people – are set to carry out a series of seminars, surveys, training and research activities over the next year.

The project is led by Dr Carl Emery and Louisa Dawes from the University of Manchester, who were both previously teachers in the city and have vast experience of working with a range of regional and national policy workers.

They said: “Too often, policymakers and practitioners see poverty as having a simple beginning, middle and end – it is viewed as something that can fixed if we all just ‘do better’.

“We are delighted to be launching this programme with Tutor Trust to use research to really explore what poverty looks like and how we can respond to it.”

Dr Emery and Ms Dawes also run the Local Matters programme which advocates a different response from schools and community organisations to address the needs of children and families living in poverty.

Local Matters was developed by the university’s Institute of Education and works across the North West of England.

Since being founded in 2011, Tutor Trust has delivered more than 150,000 hours of tutoring across the north of England.

The project has launched as doctors and nurses pile pressure on the government to immediately offer free school meals to thousands more deprived children.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Children Health, British Medical Association and Royal College of Nurses are some of the signatories to a letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan.

The letter reads: “The Government’s free school meal scheme has been shown to be an effective policy solution to reduce obesity, food insecurity and health inequalities.

“However, currently 800,000 children living in poverty do not qualify for this nutritional safety net due to the criteria being too low.

“For many of these children, they may have to skip lunch completely or rely on cheap, unhealthy food that is damaging to their long-term health.”

Co-founders Nick Bent and Abigail Shapiro said: “This is a vital piece of research that will, we hope, make our tuition even more impactful and relevant to the communities and young people we serve.

“We are excited to see how this latest project takes shape and what we learn from it.

“We think there is huge potential for it to have a positive impact both on our tuition and even more widely in education.”

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility at the University of Manchester, said: “Third sector educational organisations play an increasingly important role in addressing poverty and social disadvantage through their programmes with young people.

“This is why we’re delighted with the award-winning Tutor Trust to co-create new insights and methods that can be applied by all charities wishing to improve their understanding and approach to poverty through their educational outreach work.”

Image: Pixabay

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