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Archive for the 'Social sciences and social policy' Category

TCRU@50: A listening, thinking and hopeful vocation

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 2 March 2023

Illustration of book covers, by TCRU artist in residence Nora Wuttke

Illustration of book covers, by TCRU artist in residence Nora Wuttke.

Les Back, Glasgow University, with an introduction by Mette Louise Berg.

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the Thomas Coram Research Unit, a leading centre for research into children, parenting and families. Throughout the year we will be running a series of events and activities to reflect on the unit’s past, present, and future. For our first anniversary event we were delighted to be joined by former TCRU colleague, now Professor of Sociology at Glasgow University, Les Back. In conversation with former TCRU co-director Professor Ann Phoenix (UCL) and Dr Sivamohan Valluvan (Warwick University), the three speakers reflected on race, multiculture, and conviviality in the shadow of Brexit, COVID, and the Windrush scandal. Here we publish an abridged version of Les’ comments at that event, sharing his reflections on the ground-breaking work carried out by TCRU on race and identity, its formative influence on his own scholarship and career, and the importance of hope and listening in research. (more…)

The ‘Shaping Us’ campaign – a welcome spotlight on the early years

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 3 February 2023

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gestures as she speaks to two researchers during a 2021 visit to UCL.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Professor Pasco Fearon, and Professor Alissa Goodman, during a 2021 visit to UCL. Credit: Parsons Media for UCL.

Alissa Goodman

It was exciting to be invited earlier this week to the launch of Shaping Us, the new Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood campaign to raise awareness of how important the early years are for shaping the adults we become.

At the launch, the Princess of Wales showed her obvious passion for and commitment to improving the lives of all children, from their earliest stages of life. Her serious personal interest in the deep scientific underpinnings for why the early years matter is also very striking. (more…)

Young people’s physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 31 January 2023

Jake Anders

Although young people were among those least likely to be directly affected by severe effects of COVID-19, they were not immune from its immediate effects on health. We are better able to understand the implications of this using data from the COVID Social Mobility & Opportunities study (COSMO). The study includes a representative sample of over 13,000 young people across England, who were aged 14–15 at the onset of the pandemic, and 16–17 during the academic year 2020/21 when our first data were collected.

COSMO’s purpose is also wider than the direct health impacts of COVID-19. As such, this blog post — drawing on our latest COSMO briefing published today — also takes a wider look at young people’s health behaviours during this period. (more…)

Maximizing the use and impact of the UK’s longitudinal research data

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 24 January 2023

Connections and networks between moving people in a busy train station.

Credit: alice_photo via Adobe Stock.

Rob Davies.

As CLOSER marks its 10-year anniversary, we’re looking back over the evolution of the home of longitudinal research in the UK.

The studies

The UK funds a number of internationally renowned longitudinal population studies (LPS). Each tracks a large sample of individuals over a number of years. In some cases they follow cohorts of around 17,000 born in the same year, from cradle to grave. In others, they follow a cohort for a shorter period, and the sample may be defined by age and/or, for instance, where these individuals live or work. The data this generates have been invaluable for analysing social as well as biomedical research questions and informing policy. The primary funders are the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC).

Each of the studies is powerful in itself, but the LPS community were more ambitious still, looking to amplify the insights they could provide by combining the data they generate. (more…)

Giving voice to the under-served: how can we mitigate the Pandemic’s impact on people from minoritised groups who have disabilities or chronic conditions?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 December 2022

CICADA Stories, Bloomsbury Theatre

Carol Rivas, Amanda Moore, Kusha Anand, Alison Wu and Ozan Aksoy. This post is adapted from a blog for Biomed Central.

Even before the pandemic, many people with chronic conditions or disabilities, particularly those from minoritised ethnic groups, faced obstacles in accessing or utilising networks of support, health and social care. During the pandemic, some of these obstacles increased disproportionately, and widened the inequalities gap.

Now, during Disability History Month (16 November to 16 December), it is instructive to consider the interplay of different intersecting factors that compromise good health outcomes when considering inequalities. For example, chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease increase vulnerability to COVID-19 and are disproportionately (more…)

Friends, family, colleagues, and neighbours play a vital role in responding to domestic abuse

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 23 November 2022

Karen Schucan Bird, Carol Rivas, Martha Tomlinson, Nicola Stokes, Patricia Melgar Alcantud, Maria Vieites Casado.

Friday 25 November marks the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and we reflect on the crucial role that we, as colleagues, friends, family, or community members, can play in responding to domestic abuse. Women who experience abuse may tell someone within their familial or social network about their situation. Since estimates suggest that one in three women experience abuse in their lifetime, many of us will be the person told and our response can be vital. Evidence suggests that supportive reactions from friends and family can improve the wellbeing of victims and support further help-seeking.

The pandemic highlighted the crucial role that friends, family and colleagues can play. But research tells us that there are (more…)

IOE at 120: Britain’s birth cohort studies find their home, 1992-2002

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 26 October 2022

A selection of birthday cards sent to members of the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohort studies in the 1990s.

A selection of birthday cards sent to members of the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohort studies in the 1990s.

This blog is the 10th in a series of 12 exploring each decade in IOE’s history in the context of the education and society of the times. Find out more about our 120th anniversary celebrations on our website, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep up with everything that’s happening. 

Meghan Rainsberry.

The 1990s was a decade in history when two great pillars of British social science came together – IOE, and the British birth cohort studies.

Following generations of Britons from cradle to grave, birth cohort studies have been a unique feature of medical and social science in Britain since the original birth cohort study was established in 1946. It was a first for Britain, and the world.

Today, the successors of the 1946 cohort are all housed together at the IOE’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies: the 1958 National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study and the Millennium Cohort Study. The original 1946 cohort is not far away, just a few doors down at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL.

You’ll often hear the studies referred to as the ‘jewels in the crown’ of British social science. But if you wind the clock back to the 1980s, they were (more…)

How did trust in the UK government change through the Covid-19 pandemic?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 21 October 2022

Sam Parsons and Richard Wiggins.

Our research presented this weekend at the Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies (SLLS) International Annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio focuses on changes in self-reported trust in the UK government, trust in others and compliance with social distancing measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results are based on the responses of 23,461 people living in the UK, who participated in at least one of three web surveys collected during the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically in May 2020, September 2020 and February 2021.

Respondents belong to four nationally representative longitudinal studies which follow people from (more…)

The disadvantage gap: children of austerity or children of adversity?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 6 September 2022

chezbeate / Pixabay

Neil Kaye.

Last month, hundreds of thousands of young people nervously opened their GCSE results – the first time in the post-pandemic world that such exams had been sat by a full cohort of Year 11 students. Whilst the headlines focused on the apparent fall in average grades from those of the previous two years, the results also highlight a seemingly-inevitable outcome of our present education system: the persistence of a ‘disadvantage’ attainment gap.

A recent IFS report concluded that, “despite decades of policy attention, there has been virtually no change in the ‘disadvantage gap’ in GCSE attainment over the past 20 years”. Whilst some improvement has been noted, modelling by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) from before the pandemic observed that “at the current rate of progress, it would take over 500 years for this gap to close completely at the end of secondary school” (Lupton & Hayes, 2021).

So, is this gap in attainment inevitable? Is it ‘baked’ into the system? Are the policies of successive governments doomed to failure, or have they (more…)

IOE at 120: knowledge, power and social class – a closer look at the Sociology of Education, 1972-1982

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 17 August 2022

Basil Bernstein, Professor of the Sociology of Education, 1967-90; Karl Mannheim Chair of Sociology of Education, 1983-90.

Basil Bernstein, Professor of the Sociology of Education, 1967-90; Karl Mannheim Chair of Sociology of Education, 1983-90.

This blog is the eighth in a series of 12 exploring each decade in IOE’s history in the context of the education and society of the times. Find out more about our 120th anniversary celebrations on our website, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep up with everything that’s happening. 

Michael Young.

The 1970s was a period of change and excitement but ultimate disappointment for sociologists of education. Internal divisions within the field and external political developments would change the discipline irrevocably. This meant that the work of IOE’s most eminent scholar, Basil Bernstein, would only later enjoy the influence it deserved.

In 1965 Basil Bernstein was promoted to be the first Professor of the Sociology of Education at IOE, and those of us who subsequently joined his department hoped that his highly original research on social class and language codes might be the basis for how the discipline would develop. However, for all its theoretical sophistication, his early work on language became, at best, an outrider to the peculiarly English obsession with the educability of working-class children and its correlation with their persistent low attainment at school. Despite Bernstein’s own powerful (more…)