Local Matters

The University’s Manchester Institute of Education have developed Local Matters, a new research approach to understanding and responding to poverty in schools.

Poverty and socio-economic disadvantage are major determinants of educational outcomes in England. Research from Manchester Institute of Education shows that classroom interventions funded through the Pupil Premium will be insufficient to improve educational outcomes for poorer pupils.

Schools who explore and understand staff attitudes towards poverty, develop strong understandings of local context and are willing to change core practices (curriculum, pedagogy, extracurricular activities, finance, professional development) based on this knowledge are more likely to successfully address poverty and disadvantage.

Drawing on this knowledge, the University has developed Local Matters, a different approach to the traditional ‘fix’ model. We work alongside and empower the school and community through a range of research skills and principles to develop an evidence based local response to local issues.

The approach moves beyond the simplistic and centralised one-size-fits-all interventions currently dominating the sector. It recognises that poverty is different in different places; Southampton is not the same as Bradford, so requires localised knowledge and localised answers. Essentially, it supports school staff to become place-based social justice researchers.

Research lead, Dr Carl Emery has recently produced a podcast explaining more about what Local Matters is, how it approaches poverty differently and how, through using research, schools have developed localised, and collaborative responses. Louisa Dawes from the University’s School of Environment, Education and Development is is the coleader of Local Matters and a senior lecturer in Education.