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Moving the Goalposts: Poverty and Access
to Sport for Young People

Monday 7th December 2015


LSE Housing and Communities recently launched a new report: Moving the Goalposts: Poverty and Access to Sport for Young People. Earlier in the year we carried out area-based qualitative research for StreetGames, the leading charity working to break down the barriers created by poverty and area disadvantage that prevent young people participating in sport.


Professor David Piachaud Chaired this important event where Jane Ashworth, Chief Executive of StreetGames explained why this research is so important. Professor Anne Power presented the main findings and recommendations and Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham and Baroness Tessa Jowell also offered their perspectives on the importance of sport for London's young people.

Download the report:

Full Report (pdf) | Executive Summary (pdf) | Literature Review (pdf)


Audio recording of the launch event

Moving The Goalposts Report

StreetGames asked us to help them better understand why high poverty areas suffer such major disadvantages and throw up so many barriers in the field of 'active learning' and whether informal sport and physical activity could actually help.
We visited five deprived areas in England and Wales and spoke to about 135 young people between the ages of 14-25, local parents and key actors in order to uncover what young people do, what they think of their area, why they play sport or don’t, and what the barriers to involvement are. We know that sport and physical activity help young people develop confidence and motivation, social and team skills, and also motivates them to strive and succeed.
The health impacts of lack of exercise are already serious and projected to become more so in the future. This relevant and timely report offers a unique insight into the lives of young people in deprived areas, the barriers they face to participation, ways in which communities and charities can support the work already done in poor areas, and new ways of opening access to sport for young people.

Further information: For more information contact Nicola Serle at LSE ( Tel: 020 7955 6684.

News Posted: 16 November 2015      [Back to the Top]

Housing Plus Academy
New housing academy for social landlords, backed by leading social housing providers, to be launched

The National Communities Resource Centre and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) will launch the new Housing Plus Academy on Monday 9 November at Trafford Hall. The Academy will help housing associations remain viable social businesses by supporting the communities where they work in a period of austerity. It will be hands-on and action-oriented locally while driving home policy messages among decision-makers. The Academy will develop knowledge exchange and offer peer learning, accredited participative training and think tanks to explore areas needing action and support to social landlords, particularly helping their front line staff and tenants to respond to welfare reform, financial pressures, energy costs, job access, community and social needs.


Twelve leading housing associations have become partners and sponsors of the Housing Plus Academy alongside the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who are supporting efforts to include small, community based organisations and vulnerable minorities. It is also backed by the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing, along with a number of small housing associations. With sponsorship and minimal charges for each event, the Housing Plus Academy will be self-sustaining.


Professor Power commented: “Housing Plus seems to have real purchase because housing associations are driven by the urgent need to retain their business viability while at the same time depending on tenants coping and paying their way. They have a strong ethical purpose, and are the most significant organisations within low income communities, alongside schools.”


“Local authorities are also involved but their role and responsibilities are significantly different because of their much wider political remit. However many have a direct involvement in the key Housing Plus themes, particularly through their role as social landlords or through transfer associations. All social landlords favour the think tank model as the basis for the Housing Plus Academy.”


Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat said: "In a tough environment, the Housing Plus Academy can help housing professionals and organisations maintain their support for residents and communities."


David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation said: “Trafford Hall and LSE have a national reputation that spans many years and today housing has more challenges than ever. Initiatives like the Housing Plus Academy will help the sector to rise to these challenges and prosper in the future, helping all of us to do more with fewer resources.”





For further information, please contact Nicola Serle,

or phone 0207 955 6684 or Sally Wyatt, Chief Executive Trafford Hall, or phone 01244 300246.

News Posted: 09 November 2015      [Back to the Top]

Joseph Rowntree Foundation and LSE partnership
to investigate link between poverty and inequalities

 The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is delighted to have been awarded £565,000 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) for a three-year programme to investigate the links between poverty and inequalities

The partnership was announced by LSE alumna Ms Julia Unwin CBE, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, at an LSE public lecture to launch a new book Social Class in the 21st Century. 

The donation establishes a new early career fellowship within the LSE International Inequalities Institute (III) as well as a programme of research on the connections between inequality, diversity and poverty which will be led by LSE’s Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE).

The research aims to review the relationships between inequalities of various kinds and poverty. It will investigate areas such as the consequences of living in an unequal society for the lives of those in poverty; how people’s prospects of social mobility are affected if parental resources are unequally distributed between families; the links between poverty, inequality and geographical and neighbourhood segregation; how inequality affects risks of poverty for different groups, such as by ethnicity, gender, disability and migration status; and the political and attitudinal effects of inequality for support (or otherwise) for effective collective action against poverty.  

The funding will also ensure a programme of practitioner visitors to the III and a public engagement programme of events and publications to support the research.

Professor John Hills, co-director of the III at LSE and director of CASE, said: “Inequality and the persistence of poverty in affluent societies are key issues of our time, but ones whose nature and inter-relationships have been changing and are contested. We hope that this new collaboration between the International Inequalities Institute and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on this Poverty and Inequalities programme will help the development of understanding and policies to address the divide between rich and poor.”

Ms Julia Unwin CBE said: “The aim of JRF's partnership with the new Institute is to support activities focused on the consequences of different kinds of inequality for poverty, and the prospects of successful public action to reduce it, with the focus on the UK, in line with JRF's mission. We want to improve understanding of the links between inequality and poverty, including between different groups in society. We hope this partnership will make an important contribution to public debate and understanding at a critical time for efforts to reduce poverty in the UK.” 

News Posted: 02 November 2015      [Back to the Top]

No magic bullet in London schools
- success just years of steady improvements in quality, new research shows.


New work, published as part of the Social Policy in a Cold Climate programme, concludes that the improved performance largely reflects gradual improvements in school quality over time. Improvements in primary schools played a major role in explaining later improvements in secondary schools.  In 2002 less than a quarter (22%) of children on free school meals in inner London obtained five or more A*–C grades at GCSE or their equivalent (including English and Maths). In 2013, this had risen to almost half (48%). Gains were much smaller among disadvantaged children outside London (17%) to (26%).


The new work establishes that the “London effect” for poor children began in the mid-1990s – well-before many of the high-profile policies in secondary schools previously credited with London’s success, such as the London Challenge, Teach First, and the growth of academies.  It’s possible that recent changes reflect London’s status as an economic powerhouse. To check this the researchers follow a group of children born around the year 2000 from preschool to age 11. This shows that disadvantaged pupils in London are not ahead at age 5, but instead make faster progress once they get to school compared to their peers outside the capital.   


This research is authored by Jo Blanden (School of Economics, University of Surrey) Ellen Greaves (Institute for Fiscal Studies), Paul Gregg (Department of Social Policy, Bath University), Lindsey Macmillan (Institute of Education, University College London) and Luke Sibieta (Institute for Fiscal Studies) and is part of the Social Policy in a Cold Climate programme of work, funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Nuffield Foundation and Trust for London through the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE), LSE. Co-funding from the ESRC-funded Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at the Institute for Fiscal Studies is gratefully acknowledged.

News Posted: 30 September 2015      [Back to the Top]

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