Personal profile


I left the paid employment of UoM in July 2020 and am now working as an Honorary Professor.

This means I am still involved with UoM and particularly the intellectual community of the Manchester Institute of Education, but I am not doing any teaching or taking on any new doctoral students.  I'm continuing to work on projects around educational, social and spatial inequalities.

A bit more about me.... I joined the University of Manchester in 2013, from the LSE, where I was Principal Research Fellow and Deputy Director at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE).  Before that, I was a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London.With a background in local government and as an independent social researcher, I see my work as being ‘research for policy and practice’, often involving close engagement with policy-makers, school leaders and teachers or third sector organisations.  Much of my work is local.  In London, I set up and directed IoE's London Education Research Unit (LERU) and in Manchester I led the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit (IGAU), a partnership between the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and UoM to understand and promote more widely shared prosperity in Greater Manchester. Wider work has included membership of the National Equality Panel and serving as a Specialist Advisor to the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills, as well as advisory roles in many projects and programmes concerning poverty, inequality and education.   Have a look at my research interests and publications for more info.




Research interests

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. 


I am no longer supervising doctoral students.

I am interested in being involved in reseach on the following topics:

  • spatial inequalities, territorial justice and neighbourhood dynamics
  • neighbourhood effects on education 
  • empirical and/or theoretical approaches to understanding the relationships between school contexts, social relations and organisational processes
  • urban labour market structures and inequalities and their relationships to education and learning
  • education policies in relation to poverty and disadvantage
  • school or neighbourhood ethnography
  • Greater Manchester

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

External positions

Visiting Professor, London School of Economics & Political Science (University of London)

1 Mar 201330 Jun 2022

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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