Can educational programmes address social inequity?

Hartsmar, Nanny, Carole, Leathwood, Ross, Alistair and Spinthourakis, Julia Athena (2021) Can educational programmes address social inequity? In: Educational Research for Social Justice: Evidence and practice from the UK. Education Science, Evidence and the Public Good, 1 (1). Springer, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 271-298. ISBN 9783030625726


What are the characteristics of educational intervention programmes that appear more successful in attempting to address social inequalities? This chapter reflects on the conclusions and recommendations of a study made by a seven-country team that in 2006–2009 investigated policies relating to different kinds of inequality and disadvantage in 14 states, locating them within the educational cultures, structures and policy discourses in each state. This chapter examines changes over the last decade in four particular areas: socioeconomic disadvantage, gender, migration and ethnicity, together with the intersectionalities between these. We then review changes in the policy discourse in three of these states: Greece, Sweden and the United Kingdom. We identify particular organisational approaches and perspectives that appear to correlate with more positive and lasting outcomes. This chapter offers some significant analysis of what might be understood by ‘the public good’ with reference to educational policies, and prioritises equity over efficiencies.

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