My research focuses on two main areas. One is the effects of economic and social change on neighbourhoods in the UK, understanding changing spatial patterns of poverty and wealth, their local impacts on people and places, and the effects of 'regeneration' and other policies. The other is the relationships between poverty, inequality and education. Again I am particularly interested in place, studying the impact of local socio-economic contexts on the social relations and organisational processes of schools, and in policy, studying how national and local policy and spending decisions make educational inequalities better or worse.
My recent work has focused on the idea of 'inclusive growth': economic growth that delivers more widely shared prosperity and reduces inequalities and poverty. Since 2016, I have led the Jospeph Rowntree Foundation funded Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit (IGAU), focusing on Greater Manchester. I've also been examining the potential social policy impacts of city-region devolution. I'm also currently working on issues in education policy, including a study for the Nuffield Foundation on the post-16 trajectories of young people who do not achieve attainment thresholds in English and maths GCSEs, and a book on education policy mistakes and their consequences.
Prior to this, I led a major programme of research on Social Policy in a Cold Climate (with colleagues based mainly at LSE) which looked at the combined impacts of recession, government spending and social policy reform on poverty and inequality in the UK since the financial crisis, and I am currently involved in the education strands of a follow-up programme covering the period 2015-2020. I contributed to an ESRC-funded project to look at the impact of home moves in the children’s early years (with Principal Investigator Professor Emerita Heather Joshi at IOE) and a project to examine the impacts of the ‘bedroom tax’ on children and their schools in Manchester. Please see my publications to learn more about these projects and others.