University of Leicester eBulletin

New Think-Tank at University of Leicester to Improve School Pupils' Achievement Levels

May 2003
No 123

The University of Leicester is establishing a new 'think-tank' that aims to improve educational standards in schools and address problems of pupils' underachievement.

The new Centre for Studies in Raising Achievement is being established in the University's School of Education -one of the UK's top 10 teacher training centres.

It will carry out research, identify and disseminate good practice relating to strategies for improving pupils' attainment in schools while also providing direct intervention in the classroom environment through a consultancy service.

The new centre, launched in the spring of 2003, is the brainchild of Professor Paul Cooper and his colleagues at the University's School of Education - Ms Rose Griffiths, Mrs Morag Hunter-Carsch and Dr Rosemary Sage.

Professor Cooper said: "Problems of educational underachievement are of major international concern, having far reaching social and economic consequences. The University of Leicester School of Education has staff with national and international reputations for their research and scholarship in this area. 

"We have, for a long time, played a leading role in scholarship in the area of education for groups and individuals who are disadvantaged by various circumstances. Historically, the School of Education was given a high international profile through work of such major figures as the late Professor Brian Simon, whose work in the area of inequality in education has had a profound influence on generations of educationists.

"More recently, a number of colleagues have established reputations for their work in the area of intervention designed to address and redress issues of inequality and educational under achievement. The internationally respected Centre for Citizenship Studies is an example of the way in which this work has developed."

Professor Cooper said the Centre aims to:

        carry out research of national and international quality into the nature, prevention and tackling of educational underachievement among children and young people;

        promote developmental work in schools and other educational settings in order to foster the prevention and remediation of educational underachievement;

        provide advanced education and training to educators and other professionals;

        provide consultancy services;

        engage with local and national agencies in the promotion of knowledge and understanding of educational underachievement and its remedies.

Professor Cooper said: "Staff from the University of Leicester are already engaged in work on cross curricular materials for urban schools at KS2; Improving performance in mathematics in year 6 pupils living in social priority area and in Nurture Group provision.

"Our educational experts are currently working on issues relating to attention problems, communication difficulties, specific learning difficulties, language development and inclusiveness.

"The creation of the Centre will also help to communicate to a wide audience the breadth and depth of expertise provided by the University's School of Education in this area." 


For more information, please contact Professor Cooper on 0116 252 3751, email

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