Poverty and Education

Poverty and Education

The impact of poverty and deprivation on education is a theme that continues to be of major national and international significance in both so-called developed and developing countries. This theme is interdisciplinary, incorporating disciplines such as Education (especially issues such as leadership, Inclusion, Social Justice and Human Rights), Sociology, Political Policy, Gender Issues and International Studies. The theme is important in the context of Scotland as school education attempts to negotiate the challenges of educating children and young people who belong to households on low income. These households suffer the effects of limited financial resource and consequent detrimental effects on housing, diet, fuel and restricted access to cultural capital. Poverty and deprivation can affect the regularity of attendance at school, concentration at school and opportunities to participate in social and cultural activities. The theme is equally important internationally. Comparisons can be drawn between Scotland and other developed countries and there are serious concerns about the impact of poverty and deprivation on school education in developing countries. This can result in children and young people having no access to school or access to school restricted to part time attendance and, for many, concluding at the end of primary, or elementary school (girls are at particular risk).

The impact of poverty and deprivation on children and young people has been exacerbated by the Covid-19, post Covid period and the financial crisis. In the last few years, we have identified and uncovered some areas of hidden poverty that affect children and young people: food poverty; digital exclusion; uniform poverty, inequality in music education and the poverty experienced by young carers.

We invite all those who are concerned about poverty and education to contact us, join us, participate in our online and face -to-face sessions and collaborate with us. Please contact Stephen McKinney for details on how to engage with the network: Stephen.mckinney@glasgow.ac.uk

History of the Network

The network was founded in 2014 by a group of academics from different Scottish Universities: Stephen McKinney, Stuart Hall and Kevin Lowden, University of Glasgow, John McKendrick, Caledonian University, Alastair Wilson, University of Strathclyde and Archie Graham, University of Aberdeen. Since then, the network has grown and developed and includes active engagement and participation from emerging researchers and more experienced academics from the other Scottish universities that focus on education.

The network was launched on the 19 November 2014 at the SERA conference at the University of Edinburgh.  The network has contributed symposia to the following SERA conferences: 2015, University of Aberdeen; 2016, University of Dundee; 2017, University of the West of Scotland; 2018, University of Glasgow; 2019, University of Edinburgh; 2022, University of the West of Scotland. Other contributions to seminars/events include:

  • Presentations at the Emporium of Dangerous Ideas, Stirling, 16/6/2015.
  • BERA Symposium on Policy and Advocacy, University of Glasgow, 20/4/2016.
  • Presentations for Scottish Council of Deans/ Scottish Educational Research Association. online seminar on 31/5/2022.


During the period of the restrictions and lockdowns of Covid-19, the network offered the following online events. There were three events that focused on Recent Research into Poverty and Education on 4/3/2021, 18/3/2021 and 20/5/2021. The network also contributed to the online SERA conference in November 2021.

Network Publications

Many of the key members of the network have published extensively in the theme of poverty and education. The poverty and Education Network has also been very active in the area of publications and the joint publications are listed below. We have focussed on many of the major issues and exposed a number of hidden forms of poverty.

Peer reviewed Journal articles:

McKinney, S.J., McKendrick, J.H. Hall, S. and Lowden, K. (2020) What might the Covid Pandemic mean for the SERA Poverty and Education Network? Scottish Educational Review. 52 (2), 4-8. OPEN ACCESS.


McKinney, S. J., Graham, A., Hall, S., Hunter, K., Jaap, A., Lowden, K., MacDougall, L., McKendrick, J. H., Mtika, P., Moscardini, L., Reid, L., Ritchie, M., Robson, D., Shanks, R., Stettin, S., & Wilson, A. (2023). Beyond the Pandemic – Poverty and School Education in Scotland, Scottish Educational Review (published online ahead of print 2023). OPEN ACCESS.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/27730840-20231002


Research Bulletin Special Edition:

McKinney, S.J. (ed.) (2021) Researching Education Bulletin (SERA) Poverty

Network Special Issue 10. Spring. OPEN ACCESS.



Research Bulletin Articles:

McKinney, S.J. (2022) The view from Scotland. SERA’s Poverty and Education Network.  Research Intelligence (BERA) Issue 150, Spring. pp. 40-41.


Publications by Members of the Network:

Mtika, P., Robson, D., Graham, A., & MacDougall, L. (2023) Student teachers’ perspectives of learning to enact an inclusive pedagogy: insights for working in high poverty school environments, Teaching Education, Online Open Access. DOI: 10.1080/10476210.2023.2198206

Full article: Student teachers’ perspectives of learning to enact an inclusive pedagogy: insights for working in high poverty school environments (tandfonline.com)

Shanks, R. and McKinney, S.J. (2022) Cost and Affordability of school uniform and child poverty. Scottish Educational Review. 54 (1) 74-87. Online Open Access. 


Wilson, A., & Hunter, K. (2023) Access and Emergence: A Case Study of a Working-Class Journey into Studying Medicine, Scottish Educational Review (published online ahead of print 2023). Online Open Access.  doihttps://doi.org/10.1163/27730840-20231009