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IN BRIEF


SHARED READING Family-based shared book- reading interventions work less effectively for children from disadvantaged backgrounds than originally thought, particularly when parents have lower levels of education. Researchers aim to develop a better understanding of how reading interventions work and how parents use them, to help educators design targeted, cost-effective interventions to improve language of under fives. ESRC grant number ES/M003752/1


CLIMATE ATTITUDES Public engagement with climate change, and support for policies to tackle it, are critical in creating a climate-proof Europe. Attitudes to climate change are well documented in individual European countries but not understood at a European level. An interdisciplinary team from the UK, Germany, Norway and France will address this through directly comparable and nationally representative surveys of public opinion. ESRC grant number ES/M009505/1


LEARNING OUTCOMES Children from disadvantaged backgrounds worldwide are likely to experience a poor quality of education that limits learning potential. Based on a project in India and Pakistan, researchers aim to identify strategies to raise learning outcomes for all children, regardless of background. The study will identify which aspects of teaching are most important for improving all children’s learning. ESRC grant number ES/M005445/1


6 SOCIETY NOW SUMMER 2011 SPRING 2015


New access to living standards data


THE TYPE OF poverty experienced by one fifth of working households in 1904 had been almost completely eliminated by the late 1930s due to reduction in household size and an increase in real earnings, according to data held in a publicly accessible ‘virtual centre’ on living standards in Britain during the first half of the twentieth Century.


In a three-year project, researchers digitised data from the Board of Trade 1904 household expenditure survey, the Ministry of Labour 1957/8 and 1953/4 Household Expenditure Surveys and 1960 Family Expenditure Survey.


The British Living Standards resource now offers academics, teachers and the public greater understanding of the transformation which occurred between 1900 and 1960 as Britain moved from widespread chronic poverty into a modern consumer society. n


i Contact Professor Ian Gazeley,


University of Sussex Email i.s.gazely:sussex.ac.uk Web www.sussex.ac.uk/britishlivingstandards Telephone 01273 606755 ESRC Grant Number RES-062-23-2054


Influences on family proximity


AS PAYING FOR child care and social care is prohibitively expensive for many, informal care-giving within the family is potentially important. Based on a two-year study of Understanding Society survey data, researchers find that education and ethnicity have the greatest impact on how close parents and adult children live to each other and hence how far support may be possible. “Relatively few retired people move in the UK so whether or not parents are living close to their children is driven primarily by the residential moves of the younger generation,” says researcher Professor Tak Wing Chan. And as children get older they tend to live farther from their parents. The major predictor of those moves is education. University graduates are much less likely than non-graduates to live near their parents. In the UK, the higher education participation rate index (ie, the number of home entrants to higher education aged under 21 relative to the average population aged 18-19) has risen from six per cent of people born in 1941-2 to 28


per cent for people born in 1991-92. “If this increases then we can expect the geographical distance between generations to increase yet further in coming years,” says Professor Chan. Ethnicity is the second major


predictor of intergenerational proximity with Pakistanis and Bangladeshis particularly likely to live with or near the other generation. As the fastest growing non-white ethnic groups are Black Africans, Pakistanis and Indians then this might suggest that older members of these communities could have more adult children to care for them. “It’s important to remember that while these ethnic groups may – through geographical proximity – be in a better position to provide care, it is not certain whether that is a burden which the younger generation will wish to carry,” Professor Chan insists. n


i Contact Professor Tak Wing Chan,


University of Warwick Email tak-wing.chan@warwick.ac.uk Telephone 01865 286176 ESRC Grant Number ES/K002902/1


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