Power, poverty and place: why the local matters

Our monthly GM Policy Hub seminar series which focuses on a different regional policy agenda each month. In December 2022, we focused on poverty and why there is a need for our responses to it to be far more nuanced than the current social mobility agenda provides.

‘What we believe about low-income students - how we relate to them - in fact, it plays a considerable role in determining how we teach them’ (Robinson, 2007) 

Evidence shows that what we are doing to eradicate the disadvantage gap isn’t working. At the current rate of reduction, it will take over 500 years for ‘disadvantaged’ children to match the exam success of their ‘advantaged’ peers.

This seminar set out the current levels of poverty, associated metrics and its impact on children, schooling and communities in Greater Manchester. Carl Emery and Louise Dawes, from the Manchester Institute of Education, examined the dominant model of one-size-fits-all in regard to reducing the (disadvantage) attainment gap and explore alternative localised approaches, thereby connecting the narrow ‘what works’ policy agenda to ‘what matters’ to people and place.

Throughout this discussion, they drew on knowledge developed by the Local Matters research network and a specific case study presented by Manchester Food Bank. 

Their approach recognises that poverty, and the responses to it, need to be far more nuanced than the current social mobility agenda offers.

When: 1:00-2:30pm, Thursday 1st December


  • Carl Emery, Lecturer in Education, University of Manchester
  • Louisa Dawes, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Manchester
  • Patsy Davies, Campaign Coordinator, Manchester Central Foodbank

Chaired byCecilia Wong, Professor of Spatial Planning, University of Manchester