‘We’ve got stuff all, absolutely nothing!’: Summer holidays and the geography of extra-curricular activities


Extra-curricular activities are crucial for nurturing children’s ‘softer’ skills outside the classroom. However, our recent Social Mobility Commission report highlights a dearth of opportunities for young people in some communities, meaning many will spend the next six weeks with little to do.

This week, I wrote a short piece for the Transforming Society blog highlighting that many young people will spend the six-week holidays with nothing to do (due in large part to the impact of austerity cuts on smaller communities). This was based on findings from a study colleagues and I conducted for the Social Mobility Commission, published during the last week of the school year. You can read the blog post here.


Published: Social Mobility Commission Report


It’s been a while since my last blog post, due to PhD and other commitments. However, our research (led by Dr. Michael Donnelly) on extra-curricular activities has at last been published during what is for many the last week of the school term (oh, and a highlight of my career thus far that it was mentioned on the Today programme this morning!) Thousands of kids, particularly those from poorer households, will spend the next six weeks with little or nothing to do due to a lack of funding in their communities, exacerbated dramatically by cuts this elitist Tory government has imposed.

In the report, we highlight the importance of extra-curricular activities for the development of young people’s ‘softer’ skills, like independence and communication. We also highlight some concerning disparities (social, geographical, gender and ethnic) in young people’s access to and engagement in extra-curricular activities in England.

Click to access An_Unequal_Playing_Field_report.pdf


Space and Place in Budapest


I have a typically British ineptitude for languages. It’s something I keep meaning to rectify. Even now, sitting in a hotel room at 4.30am on my first morning in Singapore, I’m fluent only in English and feel arrogant in the knowledge that I’ll get by just fine as I cross the city in a few hours for my first morning of fieldwork. Continue reading

Fieldwork in Cyprus


Although not a part of my original ESRC funding application, I was fortunate to be granted an Overseas Fieldwork Allowance (through the South West Doctoral Training Partnership) to undertake research in schools in Cyprus and Singapore this year. The first of these visits took place last week when I visited a school in Cyprus, which offers free tuition to young people in military families and accepts fee-paying British students living in the neighbouring area. Continue reading