KEYNOTE I ~ Chris Pascal & Tony Bertram - Informal Learning in Times of Austerity

Poor families with young children have been harder hit than any other group by austerity policies and research tells us that Informal family learning in community spaces contributes to development of young citizens, particularly for character building, positive learning dispositions and executive learning functions, which influence successful school outcomes (Pascal and Bertram, 2012; Heckmann and Mosso, 2014).

It focuses on informal family learning in urban disadvantaged communities experiencing austerity in England and Portugal.  This connection between school outcomes and informal learning in urban environments is vital, under-researched and relevant to many urban communities experiencing austerity.


In this keynote, Professor Chris Pascal and Professor Tony Bertram will report on an international research project undertaken in 2018 in Birmingham and Porto, Portugal. They will describe how they mapped the impact of austerity in English and Portuguese disadvantaged urban communities, documenting changing levels of availability/access to what were, historically, public, free, cultural/leisure services on which poor families depend for stimulation and extension of family learning, including libraries, parks, playgrounds, youth clubs and museums.

The project aims were to enhance family and informal learning for disadvantaged children before entry to school, generating learning with international relevance.

For more information please visit: