The role of aspirations, attitudes and behaviour in closing the educational attainment gap

Charlotte Carter-Wall and Grahame Whitfield for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation This paper examines whether children's and parents' attitudes, aspirations and behaviours for education really do affect attainment, and whether interventions focused on these can reduce the attainment gap. Summarising messages from research in JRF's Education and Poverty programme, the key findings are: A clear causal relationship between attitudes, aspirations and behaviours and children's educational outcomes could not be established, mainly due to the quality of evidence, which offers limited support for the impact of most interventions; evidence supports interventions focused on parental involvement in children's
education to improve outcomes; there is mixed evidence on the impact of interventions focused on extra-curricular activities, mentoring, children's self-belief and motivation; there is little evidence of impact for interventions such as those addressing children's general attitudes to education or the amount of paid work children do during term time. Download the report from:

Seven key truths about social mobility

All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility The report advises that social mobility in Britain is the worst in the Western world and the gap between rich and poor has become ingrained in children as young as three. It quotes an OECD study showing that the prospects of half of all children born in the UK can be almost entirely linked to the circumstances of their parents - compared to only 15 per cent of those in Denmark. The Group calls for more intervention in the lives of under-threes and advises that the biggest impact on social mobility was the quality of parenting, whether the home environment was educational and whether the parents had good mental health.

Protecting Independence, the Voluntary Sector in 2012

The Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector has published the first of its annual assessments, highlighting that this a pivotal moment for the voluntary sector as a whole, and many individual organisations within it. Voluntary sector organisations are - rightly - highly valued for their connection and commitment to the people and communities they serve. This allows them to meet real and sometimes previously hidden needs, to speak up without fear or favour and to deliver services in original and effective ways. This independence - of purpose, voice and action - is what makes the voluntary sector special and enables it to serve the interests of those who might otherwise be left without support or a voice because they lack power or influence. Download the report, 'Protecting Independence: the Voluntary Sector in 2012' from:

British Social Attitudes 28

National Centre for Social Research

The BSA survey asks over 3,000 people what it's like to live in Britain and how they think Britain is run. The survey tracks people's changing social, political and moral attitudes and informs the development of public policy. It includes chapters on school choice, private education, housing, child poverty, childhood, NHS, transport, environment. BSA 28 reveals that attitudes have hardened in the wake of the recession, with falling sympathy for the unemployed, lower support for tax rises to fund public services and slipping opposition to private health and schooling. Download the report from:

Baroness Newlove: Our vision for safe and active communities - government progress update

In March 2011, Baroness Newlove, the government's Champion for Active Safer Communities, published Our vision for safe and active communities. It called for a change of culture so neighbourhoods no longer see crime, antisocial behaviour and disorder as 'someone else's problem'. This report provides an update on the Government's progress in achieving Baroness Newlove's challenges to action.
Published 27 July 2011

Single Mothers: Singled Out

The impact of tax benefit changes on men and women is very different, and research from the Fawcett Society and the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that single mothers are the hardest hit by the cuts. You can read the research from the Fawcett Society at:
or visit the website for the Institute for Fiscal Studies at:

Munro Final Report

Munro said the arguments for early help are three-fold:
• A moral argument for minimising adverse experiences for children and young people
• An argument of "now or never" arising from the evidence of how difficult it is to reverse damage to children and young people's development
• It is cost-effective when current expenditure is compared with estimated expenditure if serious problems develop later
But senior figures in the sector have said the proposals will come to nothing if they are not backed with substantial government funding. You can download the full report from:

Munro Review

Social workers are failing to meet the needs of children because they are too focused on complying with regulations and meeting targets, according to the first instalment of Professor Eileen Munro's review of children's social services in England. The scoping report puts forward initial observations that will be tested by the review over the next months. Read a summary on Community Care at:
or download the report from:

 New Barnardo's commissioned report published on children in care

A report on the care system by the think tank Demos, published in partnership with Barnardo's, shows that financial savings can be made if the care system is more proactive and provides positive care experiences for looked after children.
More than 80 key stakeholders and MPs attended the report launch in central London and took part in a Q&A panel discussion chaired by Kim Catcheside, former BBC journalist. The panel, including Martin Narey, Barnardo's Chief Executive, and Councillor Shireen Ritchie, Chair of the Children and Young People Board at the Local Government Association, responded to the report, following a keynote address by Tim Loughton MP, Under Secretary of State for Children and Families (pictured left).
Read the Report in full at:
or read the summary (50 pages)