School of Education

Leeds Centre for Interdisciplinary Childhood and Youth Research


Professor Alan Prout invited to speak at the International Congress on Palliative Care

Professor Alan Prout was invited to speak at the 25th International Congress on Palliative Care, held in Montreal during October.

He was invited by Mary Ellen Macdonald and Franco Carnevale of McGill University, who had organised a day long Panel discussion on the theme of “Pediatric Palliative Care: Rethinking the ‘Pediatric’ in Pediatric Palliative Care: An Interprofessional Examination of the Child in Research and Practice”. Professor Prout spoke on the theme “What Is the Voice of the Child and How Does it Matter?”.

The Panel brought together an international and multidisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners and was dedicated to moving the focus from “paediatrics” to childhood”, and the ethical and social issues that arise in end of life care for children. Topics covered included how children’s voice can be better elicited and interpreted, contextualizing voice in family and community, and how children’s identity and voice continues after death. Each topic had presentations from researchers and a practitioner who reflected on the what researchers and others had been reporting.

In addition and separately Prof. Prout gave a seminar paper to the VOICE group at  McGill University, when he discussed interdisciplinary childhood studies more widely. VOICE stands for Views On Interdisciplinary Childhood Ethics, a research group dedicated to advancing ethical issues in relation to childhood. Their website can be found here:

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Sadler Seminar series on “Young bilinguals and their language of schooling”

(In England, 19.4% of the primary school population have a mother tongue other than English (Statistical First Release January 2015). Yet, in an increasingly multicultural UK society we still  know very little about the linguistic skills of children growing up with more than one language. Language proficiency has an impact on children’s ability to learn (spanning all aspects of the curriculum) and on their current and future ability to integrate in society.

This seminar series, funded by the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, brings together psychologists, education specialists and linguists to explore issues related to

  • the assessment of bilingual children’s proficiency in the language of schooling;
  • how to measure the amount and quality of bilinguals’ experience in each of their languages;
  • the complex relationships between language proficiency, cognitive development and well-being;
  • intervention programmes aiming to support bilingual children’s language development.

The talks listed below will all take place in Seminar Room 1 at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute.  The generous amount of time scheduled for each session is to allow time for informal discussion after the talk(s).  All welcome.

Presenters TITLES (scroll down for abstracts)
13-Oct 9:00-12:00 Philippe Prévost and Laurie Tuller (University of Tours, France) Language dominance based on a questionnaire for parents of bilingual children (PABIQ): child bilingualism in France
Sharon Unsworth (University of Nijmegen, NL) Quantifying bilingual experience: using the (U)BiLEC to estimate input quantity and quality
Cécile De Cat (University of Leeds) and Ludovica Serratrice (University of Reading) The Bilingual Profile Index: a gradient measure of bilingual experience
09-Nov 2:00-2:30 Ekaterini Klepousniotou and Amanda Waterman (University of Leeds) Planning for language testing in the Born in Bradford cohort
2:30-3:30 Meesha Warmington (University of Sheffiled) Cognition in Bilinguals: Comparative Evidence from the UK and India.
23-Nov 1:30-2:30 Allegra Cattani (University of Plymouth) Every bilingual child is different: Effect of exposure and additional language on the vocabulary at age 2
07-Dec 2:00-3:00 Silke Fricke (University of Sheffield) Early Language Intervention for Children learning English as an Additional Language
3:15-4:15 Claudine Bowyer-Crane (University of Sheffield) Development of a vocabulary screener for young children speaking multiple languages
26-Jan 2:00-4:00 Victoria Murphy (University of Oxford) Developing and supporting vocabulary knowledge in EAL pupils


  • “Quantifying bilingualism” workshop: Researchers from three labs will present their methodology to quantify bilingualism in light of its purpose (e.g. distinguishing bilingual children with a language developmental disorders from bilingual children with a normal delay due to reduced exposure). This is the first step towards establishing a common denominator to quantify bilingualism across data sets, and to identify aspects of language proficiency that could be investigated using this common measure.
  • Ekaterini Klepousniotou & Amanda Waterman: The Born in Bradford longitudinal cohort study is following the lives of over 13,500 children and their families to learn how we can improve health and educational outcomes. A huge range of data are being collected, including lifestyle information, SES, genetic information, biomarkers, environmental factors, health records, and education records. In addition we are running a cognitive/motor test battery on all the children that measures sensorimotor processes and executive function. In addition to this, nested studies will be run within the cohort to look at other key cognitive constructs including speech and language abilities. This is particularly interesting in the BIB cohort given the ethnic diversity within Bradford, with half the cohort having South East Asian heritage, and therefore raising interesting questions about bilingualism.
  • Meesha Warmington: This talk explores whether substantial evidence exists to support claims that bilingualism has systematic and enduring consequences for neuro-cognitive functioning. Employing multiple exemplar tasks I will present behavioural data regarding the aspects of executive control that are privileged in bilingualism, based on data from Hindi-English bilingual children living in the UK and India.
  • Allegra Cattani: Monolingual and bilingual toddlers have an equal chance to be born with developmental language disorders, bilingual toddlers do not have an equal opportunity to be identified given that the current assessment tests are tailored for monolinguals but are not sensitive to bilingual toddlers. Multiple factors are exploited to accurately quantify the bilingual experience of young children in the lexical comprehension and production.  The most robust predictor of English and Additional Language (AL) was found for exposure to English, which positively predicts both comprehension and production in the English lexicon.  The presentation is aimed at guiding health professionals and educators with step-by-step explanation to determine the percentage of the time a toddler hears English and subsequently to be able to interpret the performance on standardised tests.
  • Silke Fricke: Successful literacy development and educational attainment involves more than learning to decode words. In order to follow the curriculum and acquire new knowledge and skills, children must understand the language used by teachers as well as understand what they read. Oral language skills are therefore important for children’s communication, literacy development, and school participation. The talk will focus on boosting oral language as a foundation for literacy in the Early Years (UK nursery and Reception) so children build a stronger oral language foundation for entering school. It will draw on different school-based work from relevant research projects in the UK. While different populations of pupils (e.g. monolingual children with language weaknesses) will be considered the focus will be on children learning English as an additional language (EAL). The talk will emphasize the importance as well as challenges of early interventions to provide children with EAL with a secure language foundation for school participation. Conclusions are drawn for the practice of supporting oral language in preschool settings.
  • Claudine Bowyer-Crane: The number of children in UK primary schools learning English as an additional language is growing. A consistent achievement gap is found in national assessments of language and literacy between children learning EAL and their monolingual peers at the early stages of schooling. Support for these pupils is vital. However, in order to provide the right support it is important to identify those children who have a language impairment from those who may simply need more exposure to English. This paper will highlight some of the issues around the assessment children learning English as an Additional Language with a particular focus on vocabulary. Drawing on recent research, the paper will discuss the importance of assessing children in both their first and second languages and the challenge this poses for practitioners. The paper will demonstrate a newly developed task for assessing receptive vocabulary in a child’s home language which is designed to be used by practitioners and researchers working with children learning EAL.
  • Victoria Murphy: The developing language and literacy skills of children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) is a global concern given increasing numbers of children are being educated through the medium of English without having English as their home or native language. One of the key factors that has been shown to predict both reading and writing in primary school children is vocabulary knowledge. When considering the role of vocabulary in literacy development both researchers and teachers typically examine vocabulary breadth. In this presentation, I will discuss other dimensions of vocabulary knowledge (i.e., vocabulary depth) which includes collocational, idiomatic and metaphorical dimensions of lexis. I will present the results of research examining the nature and possible development of these more extended and figurative aspects of vocabulary knowledge in bilingual children and discuss the role that this type of lexis might play in developing reading and writing skills in primary school children with EAL. The discussion of these findings will be contextualised within both theoretical and applied implications.

This entry was posted in Events, Language Development and Cognition satellite, News.

Download presentations from Widening Participation event

Download presentations from the one day conference Enduring Inequalities and New Agendas for Widening Participation in Higher Education: Student Access, Mobilities and ‘Success’, which took place on the 27th July 2016, organised by Dr Sharon Elley, Liz Hurley and Dr Kim Allen, School of Sociology and Social Policy (L-CYR, FLaG), here:

Widening Participation: Lifelong Learning Perspectives

Tony Ellis
Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds)

The shifting landscape of widening participation: current challenges, expectations and realities

Professor Jacqueline Stevenson
Sheffield Hallam University

Recognizing and troubling Racial Microaggressions in Higher Education

Remi Joseph-Salisbury
University of Leeds

Institutional stratification, graduate outcomes and upward social mobility in the UK

Paul Wakeling
Centre for Research on Education and Social Justice, Department of Education, University of York

Part-time spaces: rethinking ‘belonging’ in HE

Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas
Research Fellow, Birmingham City University

Supporting autistic students during their transition to university

Marc Fabri, Leeds Beckett University
Penny Andrews, University of Sheffield
Heta Pukki, Keskuspuisto College, Helsinki, Finland

Intersections of gender and class: working-class men’s journey’s to elite higher education

Dr Mandy Winterton
Edinburgh Napier University

Supporting widening participation students through university and beyond

Louise Banahene
University of Leeds

Contested (im)mobilities: Gendered experiences of ‘staying local’

Kirsty Finn
Lancaster University

Fish out of water? Contrasting the WP student experience at a selective HEI

Dr Richard Budd
Liverpool Hope University

Emerging themes, reflections and the future of HE

Carole Leathwood
Professor Emeritus, London Metropolitan University

This entry was posted in News, Widening Participation and Educational Engagement Network.

Keynote abstracts now available for ‘Child and Youth Poverty: Contexts, concepts and consequences’

Jonathan Bradshaw, University of York: ‘Child poverty: Europe moving backwards’

Abstract: From the mid 1990s to the start of the recession the UK had the biggest reduction in child poverty of any (LIS) country. Most countries in the EU had increases in child poverty and this trend has continued since the recession. One reason for this is that many countries including the UK cut, or did not increase in line with inflation, the social transfers available to families with children. In most countries they became less effective in reducing poverty rates and closing child poverty gaps. This is the opposite of the ambition of the EU 2020 Poverty and Social Exclusion strategy. It was not inevitable – countries made choices to focus cuts on children and protect pensioners. In most countries social protection arrangements for pensioners became more effective and pensioner poverty rates fell.  The keynote will elaborate and support these arguments with mainly comparative data.

Professor Tracy Shildrick, University of Leeds: ‘Youth disadvantage and the new politics of poverty’

Abstract: Youth poverty occupies something of a blind spot in both research and policy discussions. Yet research shows that poverty amongst young people is increasing and transitions to adulthood are becoming more precarious and risky as the traditional key markers of adulthood – particularly in respect of employment and housing – become more difficult for many young people to achieve. It has also been argued that the current younger generation are facing serious disadvantage in comparison to earlier generations, particularly their parent generation. In a period of heightened economic and political turmoil these issues come into ever more sharp relief. This paper draws had three main aims: firstly it outlines some of the key challenges facing young people in the current period; secondly it draws on research data to illustrate the lived experience of growing up in disadvantaged neighbourhoods; and finally the paper draws attention to the some key questions about both inter-generational and intra-generational inequality in a rapidly changing political and economic context.

Read more about the conference here

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Professor Alan Prout delivers plenary paper at conference on “The Social, the Biological and the Material Child”

L-CYR member Professor Alan Prout was one of the plenary speakers at a conference, held at the University of Sheffield,  that discussed “The Social, the Biological and the Material Child”. The conference organisers at the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth took Professor Prout’s 2005 book The Future of Childhood: towards the interdisciplinary study of children, as the inspiration for the discussion, saying ‘It is now a decade since Prout argued that to fully understand childhood, researchers need to attend both to its biological and social aspects, and the interconnections between these’.

They invited papers that engaged, theoretically and empirically, with biological, social, cultural, material and/or immaterial dimensions of children’s everyday lives and/or which explore these in relation to contemporary or historical childhoods.  Themes covered by the call included ones on: childhood, place and spatiality; childhood and health; digital childhoods; embodiment and childhood; the non-human, material and post human child; research methods for exploring the biological/social/cultural/material or immaterial in childhood students; and the intersections between these; cross and inter-disciplinary approaches to childhood research; and cross-cultural and historical constructs of childhood.

As well as Professor Prout, plenary papers were presented by Prof Nigel Thomas and Prof. Spyros Spyrou (who at short notice replaced Prof. Tess Ridge, who was unfortunately indisposed). Each of their papers addressed the key theme of the meeting, bringing different perspectives to bear on it, including political, environmental and ethical aspects.

Sheffield 2016

Professor Prout said: ‘It was inspiring to hear so many contributions to making a turn in the social study of childhood towards a more fully multi- and interdisciplinary approach. After a decade or more, scholars, especially younger ones, are finding innovative ways to bring together discursive and materialist dimensions of childhood. The next years promise to be very productive and exciting if the effort heralded by this conference can be sustained and developed.”

Further details can be found at:

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New Youth Panel Working Group

In June, the L-CYR Youth Panel Working Group secured funding for two student interns to conduct research with University of Leeds staff and youth groups from across the city to determine how we can better engage children and youth in shaping future research.

The working group, which includes representatives from the School of Education, the School of Earth and Environment and a Leeds-based youth NGO are keen to ensure that the youth panel addresses the things which children and youth deem to be important in their lives, whilst also being a useful resource for researchers from across the university to engage with to shape ongoing research questions and methodologies.  Research will commence in July 2016, findings from which will determine the future direction of this exciting initiative. If you would like further information, are interested in joining the L-CYR Youth Panel Working Group or have any advice you wish to share, please contact: Harriet Thew,

We will post updates on the work of the Panel here.


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Conference registration now OPEN

Registration for our September conference – ‘Child and Youth Poverty: Contexts, concepts and consequences’ – is now open. The conference is intended to be affordable and inclusive, enabling delegates from a range of fields and career stages to attend.

The standard rate fee is £45 per person and the rate for students / the unwaged is £15. This includes lunch and refreshments, and delegates are invited to join us after the conference at the free wine reception.

To register, please follow this link to the University of Leeds store and select the appropriate option.

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Grant Success!

Mon-Williams, Klepousniotou, Waterman, Allen, and Hill from the School of Psychology who are members of the ‘Identifying and Supporting Children with Difficulties’ committee (within the CLAHRC scheme(ISCD CLAHRC) were part of a team awarded a multi-million combined MRC/ESRC grant entitled “Born in Bradford 2nd Wave” (approximately £3.5M FEC) to fund the next wave of testing in the Born in Bradford cohort.

This entry was posted in Language Development and Cognition satellite, News.


Due to requests and the timing of the national UCU strike this week, we have extended the submission deadline for abstracts for our inaugural conference on the theme of ‘child and youth poverty: contexts concepts and consequences’ to the 13th June.  The conference will take place on 16th September 2016 at the University of Leeds. Read more about the conference and view the Call For Papers in full here

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New Book: Understanding children’s personal lives and relationships

The launch of Understanding children’s personal lives and relationships (authored by Hayley Davies) took place on the 15th February 2016. The book examines the range of relationships that children aged 8-10 share with significant others within and beyond the family. Davies’ book illuminates children’s evolving relational biographies and identifies key ways in which children report on developing and sustaining relationships, particularly in situations in which they are ordinarily navigating change.

Hayley Davis, Alan Prout and Pia Christensen at the book launch

Hayley Davies with David Morgan and Pia Christensen at the book launch

It considers a number of the key themes from the new study of personal life including embodied and sensory relationality, connectedness, children’s emotions and memories and how these can be researched. A commentary on the book was offered by Professor David Morgan, (Emeritus Professor, University of Manchester), who is also one of the editors for Palgrave’s Studies in Family and Intimate Life Series. The book can be found on the Palgrave Macmillan website through this link.


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