Aims of CIRES:
- Conduct high quality local, national and international research
- Build on and develop expertise in research and practice that supports access and progression across educational contexts
- Create an active physical as well as a virtual centre where relevant knowledge is regularly shared and critiqued
- Foster a vibrant hub for early career researchers, PhD students and their supervisors
- Support members in disseminating and promoting research outputs
- Develop a forum in which cross disciplinary research and/or projects are fostered
CIRES provides and supports opportunities for cross-sector and cross-disciplinary research collaborations, promoting innovative partnerships and networking opportunities. It has a distinctive and integrated approach to researching access and progression across different subject areas, learning contexts and sectors. The research undertaken within CIRES aims to inform policy and practice in supporting students’ progress, challenging entrenched, inequitable patterns of participation in education and the workplace.
Overarching themes for the Centre
With an emphasis on applied research, our researchers consider access, progression and transition through the lenses of pedagogy, equality and identity.
The dimensions underpinning these foci are:
- Structural dimensions influencing educational progression and transition e.g. typical and atypical progression routes, geographic locations, economic context, organisational structures and practices, and neoliberalism
- Social and cultural dimensions influencing students’ educational progression and transition e.g. gendered, raced, classed and learner identities, student wellbeing, subject discipline traditions and expectations, pedagogical practices in different educational sectors
Suffolk is a diverse county. There are some affluent areas but also significant areas of multiple deprivation with a predominance of low skilled, low wage jobs and comparatively low levels of progression to Higher Education. Understanding students’ experience during all stages of their education before they progress to university or employment is vital if this is to be effectively supported. Locally as well as nationally there is limited knowledge amongst teachers and lecturers about progression routes through educational sectors and into the workplace. There is also sparse connectivity between pedagogies across different educational sectors.
Research indicates the centrality of young people’s developing self-identity in patterns of access and progression. Young people will often make decisions about careers/ subject areas at a young age with decisions being made (e.g. about science identities) as early as primary school level. These decisions are often gendered, cultural, raced and classed. Rural and post-industrial locations and an employment landscape where lower waged jobs are disproportionately represented, contribute to the formation of young peoples’ learner identities. These are clear issues in Suffolk. This suggests an imperative for identifying ways to facilitate access and progression in education that supports equality and effectively challenge intersecting classed, cultural, gendered, learner and subject disciplinary identities and trajectories.
Given our locality and expertise in working with students from diverse backgrounds, and in contexts with great diversity, as an institution we are well placed to share this expertise and contribute to national and international discussion in this area.
CIRES is made up of core and associated members and collectively offers a programme of regular activities for knowledge exchange, including:
- Establishing links and external partnerships, including with other universities (UK, EU, International), with schools and colleges and with regional/local and community groups
- Seminar series (termly external and internal speakers)
- Writing workshops (to support writing and bid preparation)
- Peer mentoring and research support from more experienced members to those with less experience e.g. in specific knowledge areas, research methodologies, writing proposals etc.
Members of CIRES work with a number of local organisations including: Suffolk and Norfolk Initial Teacher Training (SNITT), West Ipswich Teaching School, Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (neaco), Ipswich Opportunity Area Working Groups, Suffolk Community Volunteer Service, Ipswich Commission for Racial Equality, Ipswich Media Trust, Suffolk 4 Young People, Survivors in Transition, Anglia Care Trust, Safe cic, Autism and ADHD, Thomas Wolsey School, Ace Anglia, Suffolk Family Carers, make+create, Brickmakers Wood.