New article on pupil attainment and child poverty | News

Successful EU bid

Catriona McDonald, Sheila Nutkins and Kirsten Darling-McQuistan have been successful in an EU Erasmus + bid (Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education) with a total of 193,000 Euros. The partner universities are Uppsala, Sweden, Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic. The aim of the project is to increase knowledge about local, national and European strategies and good practice around the inclusion of young migrants (aged 6 months to 7 years) in some form of kindergarten / pre-school education as a means to encourage better opportunities for them and their families in terms of social orientation and inclusion in the host country.

 

The recent wave of immigration to Europe has been accompanied by many problems concerning the inclusion of migrants in the host countries. Although schools are considered to be a medium for integration, learning different subjects often presents barriers, not only those of language but even of understanding of customs and culture in the new country. To date little focus has been put on younger children in their pre-school years. Although attendance at nursery is not compulsory in any of the partner countries, we suggest that this is a way for migrant families to better integrate and be included in society in the host country. Other family members are generally responsible for taking children to and collecting from preschool provision and therefore do have the possibility of coming into regular contact with staff in the setting and other parents.  We suggest that there is an important role for the preschool  in supporting families to become familiar with the habits, traditions and way of life in the host country; in other words, a possible threshold  to better inclusion, not only of the children, but also of their families.

New article on pupil attainment and child poverty

A comment article on the Scottish Government social and educational priorities relating to pupil attainment and addressing issues of child poverty and disadvantage is now published on the Social Theory Applied site.

A new article: Inequalities of access to higher education: The role of policy and ‘powerful soft practices’ for more equal childhoods and university chances in Scotland addresses the recent speech to Scottish educationists by the Minister for Education in the Scottish Government, Angela Constance MSP,  at the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change.

The comment article by Joan Forbes (Reader in Education, University of Aberdeen) and Elspeth McCartney (Reader in Speech and Language Therapy, University of Strathclyde) is one in a series of outputs from a Scottish Universities Insight Institute funded Equalities 2015 knowledge exchange programme: Children and young people’s experiences and views of poverty and inequalities: Policy and practice implications.  Earlier project outputs include a series of policy papers on: Poverty and children’s education; Poverty and children’s health and wellbeing; Poverty and children’s access to services and social participation; and Poverty and children’s rights, civic and political engagement.

 The new article reviews the ways in which Scottish Government policy on ‘closing the gap’ on pupils’ academic attainment effects particular schooling ‘pipelines’ for students’ post-school destinations, including for university entrance.  Key messages are that intergenerational exclusion from higher education derived from poverty and inequity may need to be more broadly tackled than hitherto; and that the concerted cultivation of ‘powerful soft practices’ may contribute to the realization of more equal childhoods for young Scots.

Author: Joan Forbes and Elspeth McCartney

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