Escape from Disadvantage

'Parents Matter' International Conference

March 26th/27th 2009

Holborn Bars, 138-142 Holborn, London, EC1N 2NQ

To view the full conference brochure please click here

The background to the conference is a Longview programme devoted to the Social and Economic Returns to Escape from Disadvantage. This draws on longitudinal evidence collected in the British Birth Cohort Studies to identify the ways in which individuals, who start life with major obstacles against educational progress through childhood, may ‘buck the trend’, and will be of much interest to the policy community and other decision makers. We take further this theme in the conference by focussing particularly on the role of parents in life course changes. To what extent is ineffective parenting a factor in locking young children into low educational achievement and its often negative social and economic consequences? Does effective parenting brought about by intervention programmes really make a difference? Can intervention with parents still be effective in adolescence? What form should such intervention take?

Although the significance of parent’s role has always been recognised in policy interventions directed at young children, evidence about their effectiveness is mixed. This is even more the case in later childhood and adolescence, where parents have often tended to disappear from the framework though which young people’s lives are viewed. It is being increasingly argued, however, that the family unit and parenting are critical in diverting children’s life paths at any age towards fulfilling and socially productive outcomes in adult life. The conference provides the opportunity to review the evidence.

The conference programme is in two parts, each comprising key note talks from international and UK experts reviewing research findings and the examination through group sessions of a range of intervention projects. The first day will be devoted to childhood experience and interventions broadly covering the period of infancy through the primary school years. The second day will move the emphasis more towards older children and young people during the period of adolescence, when challenges concerned with educational choices, social relationships and the transition from school to work and into adulthood, become increasingly pressing. Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) through the late teens and associated alienation and social exclusion are a major policy concern.



Other news....

Following the completion of the cognitive capital seminar series, it was decided to develop the programme further with a focus on the impact of social change on the relationship between childhood disadvantage and outcomes in later life. There are three strands to the new work:

  1. A proposal has been submitted  to Routledge for mapping the changes in the socio-political and economic contexts of the 1946, 1958, 1970, 1992, 2000 cohort members lives. Routledge has accepted the book for publication in 2009.
  2. A one year project to integrate and document all the relevant variables for cross-cohort analysis in all six national cohort studies, 1946 (NSHD), 1958 (NCDS), 1970 (BCS70), 1992 (ALSPAC) and 2000 (MCS).
  3. A programme of research based on cross-cohort analysis on outcomes in the areas of psychological health, well-being and social integration.

Funding is being sought to support the programme. The discussion paper which launched the new work can be read here.