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IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


Archive for the 'Social sciences and social policy' Category

Refugee Week: How can we improve the Asylum system?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital21 June 2022

In Doncaster, much of the dispersal housing lies in outlying areas with few services

Mette Louise Berg

Photo by Rasha Kotaiche

This is Refugee Week – a celebration of ‘the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary’ around the world.

These are difficult times for those seeking sanctuary across the Global North. In the UK specifically, asylum is a contentious and politicised issue, and we only rarely hear and listen to the voices of people who seek asylum. In research for the report we are launching this week, we worked with a group of people with personal experience of the asylum system and organisations supporting them in Doncaster and Halifax in Yorkshire, two dispersal towns. We asked questions about housing, and the way they are being (more…)

Refugee reception in the shadow of Russia’s war in Ukraine – perspectives from Scandinavia and the UK

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 April 2022

A woman holds her hand to her face and looks worried, standing outdoors on an urban street

Image: hbrh / Adobe Stock

Drawing on their ongoing research, Mette Louise Berg, Line Grüner, Anders Neergaard, Andrea Verdasco, and Silke Zschomler discuss refugee reception policies in Denmark, Sweden, and the UK, and the obstacles involved in refugee social inclusion and integration in local communities. This post first appeared on the UCL Europe Blog


Quick thoughts on the emerging humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and among its neighbours

Blog Editor, IOE Digital28 February 2022

Refugees from Ukraine at border posts in the west of the country

Brad Blitz.

As Putin’s assault on Ukraine continues, hundreds of thousands of people will seek safety in Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary. Only Poland has some recent experience of receiving mass flows of refugees, which was not handled well. The outpouring of support and sympathy from Ukraine’s neighbours is most welcome, but there are urgent matters to consider if European states and their partners are to manage this impending humanitarian crisis.


Financial literacy part 3: Are there socio-economic differences in how parents interact with their children about money?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 February 2022

John Jerrim.

In the previous blog in this series I investigated socio-economic differences in young people’s financial skills. This focused upon the types of financial questions that young people from advantaged backgrounds can successfully answer, that their peers from disadvantaged backgrounds can’t.

In this next blog, I start to consider socio-economic differences in one of the key inputs into the development of young people’s financial skills – the role of their parents. Are there certain things that higher-income parents do with their offspring to nurture their financial skills, that lower-income parents do not?

Lets take a look (with further details available in the academic paper here). (more…)

Financial literacy part 4: Do disadvantaged children receive enough financial education in school?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 February 2022

John Jerrim.

In the third blog in this series I started to investigate socio-economic differences in the inputs into young people’s financial skills, focusing upon the role of parents.

Schools, of course, also have a key role in helping to develop children’s financial skills. Therefore, in this final blog of the series, we turn to socio-economic gaps in the provision of financial education within primary and secondary schools.

Big gaps in primary schools

Let’s start by looking at what happens in primary school. Figure 1 illustrates the percent of primary pupils who say they have been taught various financial skills at school, stratified by socio-economic background.

There are two striking results. (more…)

Financial Literacy part 1: How unequal are children’s skills?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 February 2022

John Jerrim. 

In an increasingly complex financial world, it is important that we ensure young people develop a sound knowledge of financial issues and possess key financial skills. This is particularly important for young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who, unfortunately, are the most likely to struggle financially during adulthood and become entrapped in a cycle of poverty and debt.

Yet, in the UK, we know relatively little about children’s financial capabilities, including differences between socio-economic groups, and the age when such gaps start to develop.

Along with Jake Anders, and Lindsey Macmillan, I have tackled this issue in a new academic paper. This uses data from the 2019 Children and Young People’s Financial Capability Survey – based upon responses from 3,745 children from across the UK.

Spoiler alert! The gaps are pretty big, and emerge pretty early. (more…)

Financial literacy part 2: What can rich kids do that poor kids can’t?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 February 2022

John Jerrim.

The first blog in this series illustrated how there are substantial socio-economic gaps in children’s financial literacy skills, with these differences emerging before the start of primary school.

But what exactly can rich kids do – in terms of their financial knowledge and skills – that poor kids can’t?

This blog takes a closer look. (more…)

How do we make sure the most disadvantaged children get a good education during public health emergencies?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 February 2022

Kendra Pyne, Yi Shi and Mukdarut Bangpan.

School support to build children’s resilience and boost their analytical skills could help to mitigate the inequalities that have increased during the pandemic. This is one of the broad range of interventions highlighted by our analysis of 52 research projects from around the world published in the International Journal of Educational Research.

As schools shut their doors during the Covid-19 pandemic, educational systems around the world have been struggling to provide continuity of teaching and uphold the quality and inclusiveness of education. While school disruption has affected all communities in terms of livelihoods, learning and economic opportunities, and psychological health, people living in disadvantaged situations are more likely to suffer from the most detrimental consequences.

Such disparity has led to a series of unanswered questions in the context of public health emergencies: what action has been (more…)

Green neighbourhoods and their children: does it make a difference?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital31 January 2022

Eirini Flouri.

It is widely agreed that neighbourhood greenspace provides adults with emotional, physical and social benefits, especially in urban areas where most people live. Local greenery is thought to promote psychological relaxation and stress alleviation, greater opportunity for physical activity and social interaction and is related to lower levels of air pollutants, noise and excess heat.

However, there has been relatively little research into the role of neighbourhood greenspace for children. I have been carrying out some of this research in the UK since 2012 and, like others elsewhere, I am still to find robust evidence of unique benefits for the inner lives of children in the general population. Does the link exist or not?

I think it does, but the effects are more nuanced than people think. My research has found that greenspace can affect children’s spatial working memory (SWM) and risk-taking behaviour, as I will explain shortly. But potential impacts of greenspace are (more…)

Women in science: has Athena Swan lost its way?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital30 November 2021

Alice Sullivan and John Armstrong.

The Athena Swan charter was established in 2005 to advance the careers of female academics in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). Yet it now discourages academic departments from collecting data on sex.

Athena Swan awards were designed to incentivise academic departments to support women. Monitoring gaps between men and women in recruitment and career progression was an essential criterion. Yet, Advance HE, which runs Athena Swan, now recommends data collection exclusively on gender-identity, not sex. As they state:  “Advance HE recommends asking a question about gender rather than asking a question about sex. This ensures equality efforts are … inclusive of a diverse range of gender identities.”

In common parlance, the term ‘gender’ is used as a synonym for sex, while sociologists often use ‘gender’ to (more…)