Growing up on the coast: an exploration of educational and health trajectories on the periphery
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The education attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children is pronounced in coastal communities when compared to similarly disadvantaged children in urban settings. It is recognised that a range of ‘place-based’ factors broadly associated with persistent disadvantage contribute for these lower educational attainment trajectories. Educational isolation has been used to explain the difficulties schools can face with accessing resources for school improvement in coastal areas.

As education predicts employment, income and access to material resources, as well as psychosocial wellbeing and health behaviours, it is arguably the single most important modifiable social determinant of health. Negative health outcomes (e.g. mental health, alcohol-specific, substance-use and self-harm hospital admissions) are already manifesting among children and young people living on the periphery. These could be signalling a public health crisis in the future for coastal communities.

Through interactive discussion between the panellists and audience, this fireside chat webinar explores the education and health experiences of children growing up on the coast and the additional challenges caused by being in that place.

Please register your place for this online webinar via the above link or email for any queries.  

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About the speaker

Jim Knight works in education, digital technology and as a legislator.

He is a director of Suklaa Ltd, providing advice services to UK and international clients working in education. Jim also regularly speaks and facilitates events for a range of clients, adding to Suklaa’s expertise in creating engaged education communities.

Jim is a founder of xRapid, an AI diagnostic business. He is the Chair of E-Act Multi Academy Trust, the Digital Poverty Alliance and CAST. He is a board member of Climate SUBAK CIC and sits on the advisory bodies for Tes Global, Nord Anglia, and BETT.

As a UK government minister and MP, Jim’s portfolios included rural affairs, schools, digital and employment. He was a member of Gordon Brown’s Cabinet 2009-10, before joining the Lords after the 2010 General Election.

Speaker: Lord Knight of Weymouth

Lord Jim Knight works in education, digital technology and as a legislator.

About the speaker

Sheena Asthana is Director of the Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR). Specialising in health inequalities, health care equity and resource allocation, Sheena sits on the Advisory Committee for Resource Allocation, the independent body that advises NHS England on the distribution of more than £130 billion NHS funding. Working with Alex Gibson, her next book (Levelling up: the Role of Formula Funding - Palgrave) covers not just the NHS, but funding allocations for local government, adult social care, children’s services, education and policing. This aims to demystify the process of formula funding for non-academic audiences and to help people to understand why the services that they receive may be very different to those offered to people with similar levels of need and similar sets of circumstances but living in different places. In this work, coastal inequality has emerged as an important feature of inequality.

With respect to policy engagement, Alex and Sheena submitted evidence to the Education Committee on place-based variations in education attainment. They co-wrote a chapter and technical appendix for the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report (2021) on coast health and have been exploring the pathways by which education is linked to currently and future health trajectories. With Sheela Agarwal, Sheena is the co-founder and Director of the Centre for Coastal Communities.

Speaker: Professor Sheena Asthana

Professor Sheena Asthana is Director of the Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR) at the University of Plymouth.

About the speaker

Professor Tanya Ovenden-Hope is Provost and Professor of Education at Plymouth Marjon University and Marjon University Cornwall. She is also a Visiting Professor with Canterbury Christ Church University. She is a committed and enthusiastic educationalist with over three decades of cross sector experience (FE, school and HE) in teaching, teacher education and educational leadership. An innovative academic, Tanya has maintained scholarly engagement in educational equity throughout her career. Her commitment to championing the importance of, and developing new ways of thinking about, learning and teaching was recognised when she was awarded Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014 and the National Enterprise Educator Award in 2014.

Tanya values the importance of collaboration and has roles that enable the sharing and development of best practice. She is an elected Executive Committee Member of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET); elected Special Interest Group (SIG) Convenor and Council Member for the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and an invited member of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Advisory Board for the Teacher Development Fund. She is also a Trustee on a number of Education Trusts.

The author of over 75 papers, reports, articles and books, Tanya uses her position to raise the profile of educationally isolated schools. Her current research explores the complexity of educational isolation and the effect of this on school experience and improvement for coastal, rural and small schools in England. The findings have included particular issues, which has resulted in further research and development of interventions, such as on early career teacher retention. Her latest book (co-edited with Rowena Passy) is called ‘Exploring Teacher Recruitment and Retention: contextual challenges from international perspectives’.

Speaker: Professor Tanya Ovenden-Hope

Professor Tanya Ovenden-Hope is Provost and Professor of Education at Plymouth Marjon University and Marjon University Cornwall. She is also a Visiting Professor with Canterbury Christ Church University.

About the speaker

Alex Gibson, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth, has a long-standing concern with social and geographical equity in the resourcing and provision of public services in the UK. 

Focusing on the use of large and complex datasets, his goal throughout has been to extract methodologically robust quantitative evidence on the extent to which the service needs of different populations are being met. 

Technical lead on the forthcoming children’s services resource allocation model, he also recently contributed to the House of Commons Inquiry into ‘Left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds’.

Event Chair: Dr Alex Gibson

Dr Alex Gibson is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth.

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