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IOE launches new research centre to examine equity and social justice in education

28 January 2019

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) has launched a new research centre dedicated to conducting cutting-edge sociological research on equity and social justice in education.

Louise Archer at the IOE's Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity launch

The Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity (CSEE) aims to create a vibrant and supportive research culture and promote high quality sociology of education research for the public good.

Directed by Professor Louise Archer and Professor Jessica Ringrose, the Centre launched in an event held at the IOE that also introduced a new seminar series entitled ‘Just Ideas’.

IOE's Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity launch

The event featured talks from IOE Director Professor Becky Francis and Professor Carol Vincent, focusing on the question: ‘Could better grouping and mixing practices bridge class and race divides in society?’

Professor Francis spoke about ending poor practice in provision for low attainment groups and how it is an imperative for social justice. Drawing on findings from the 'Best Practice in Grouping Students' project, Professor Francis argued that segregating by ‘ability’ within schools exacerbates wider social inequalities.

Professor Vincent discussed ‘Friendship and Diversity: adult and child friendships across social class and ethnicity’ with Sarah Neal and Dr Humera Iqbal. 

The talk reported on research in three inner-London primary schools with a diverse ethnic and social class population. It revealed that children mixed more readily than their parents across both social class and, particularly, ethnicity. Contrastingly, parents had more homogenous friendship groups, and the researchers identified a number of anxieties and avoidances about close relationships with people who were not ‘like them’.

The talk expanded on interviews conducted with 8- and 9-year-olds, parents and teachers and explored how schools can be a key site for different social connections. They are often one of the few sites providing families with such diverse contact.

Launch of the Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity (CSEE)

The event also featured a discussion with a panel comprising Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, journalist Fiona Millar, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General-Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), education journalist Laura McInerney, and Richard Bell, former policy and public affairs lead at The Challenge and Head of Secretariat to the APPG on Social Integration.

Media contact

Rowan Walker, UCL Media Relations
T: +44 (0) 20 3108 8515 / +44 (0) 7769 141006 
E: rowan.walker@ucl.ac.uk

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  • Credit: Nelly Ali, UCL