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Succeeding against the odds: which factors matter?

Discussant talks and Q&A will be uploaded on 11th December 2020 in the YouTube playlist above.

Chair: Professor Emer Smyth (Economic and Social Research Institute)

Speakers: Professor Ingrid Schoon (University College London), Professor Cristina Iannelli (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Adriana Duta (University of Edinburgh).

Discussants: Neil Cowan (Policy and Parliamentary Officer for The Poverty Alliance), Sakshi Ortichison MSYP and C-Jay Quigley MSYP (Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament).

Not all young people from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds end up with poor educational and labour market outcomes. What factors contribute to their success in the face of adversity? What can we learn from them to inform the provision of services in support of disadvantaged children and young people? This webinar will focus on the protective and enabling factors, operating at individual, family and contextual levels, which lead some young people to break the vicious circle of the social reproduction of inequalities.

The webinar will include short presentations of research evidence, a response from a policy representative and an open discussion on how to enhance the opportunities and resources of disadvantaged children, families and communities.

The long-term consequences of social inequalities

Professor Iannelli will provide an overview of the main findings from the Understanding Inequalities project on the long-term consequences of early social background inequalities. These will include achieving a higher education qualification and better occupational outcomes. New evidence from sibling data from linked administrative sources and from the 1970 British Cohort Study will show the extent to which social background in childhood shape social inequalities in individuals’ adult outcomes and will relate these outcomes to children’s early cognitive development. These results will form the backdrop for the webinar’s two other presentations which will address the question: what can we learn from people who have succeeded against the odds?

How to support young people in their school-to-work transitions in times of global crisis

Professor Schoon will introduce a multi-systemic process approach for the study of human resilience, conceptualizing the multiple contextual influences and their interactions with individual functioning over time. It is argued that resilience is a multi-level, dynamic and relational process where individual and context mutually constitute each other through processes of co-regulation. I will give a broad definition of key concepts, such as risk and adaptation, and describes developmental and resilience processes using examples from research on the school-to-work transition in times of economic uncertainty and instability.

Against all odds: A study of enabling factors in early childhood for cognitive outcomes

Dr Duta will use Growing Up in Scotland data to explore the protective and enabling factors - operating at individual, family and contextual levels - which lead some children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve high cognitive outcomes despite their disadvantage. The study adopts a longitudinal perspective by analysing children’s vocabulary scores and economic disadvantage at three time points, i.e. at ages 3, 5 and 10. Particular attention is given to describing the dynamics of the ‘resilient’ children’s vocabulary trajectories and understanding whether there are certain turning points in children’s lives which can help them overcome the negative influences of the social disadvantage they are born in.    

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - 15:00 to 16:30

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