New-generation Children’s Zones

The University of Manchester research has enabled schools and their state and voluntary-sector partners to develop new, complex, multi-partner, place-based strategies, which are improving outcomes for vulnerable children in high-poverty neighbourhoods.

Impact highlights

  • New-generation CZIs have been established by multi-agency partnerships across UK administrations
  • The Manchester research has been used to plan strategically for long-term sustainable change
  • Innovative local configurations enable local partnerships to improve outcomes whatever the starting point

The research team of Dr Kirstin Kerr together with Professors Alan Dyson and Carlo Raffo worked with partners across the UK to co-design locally-tailored, neighbourhood-focused, Children’s Zone-style initiatives (CZIs), underpinned by a conceptually and empirically rigorous model for a new generation of CZIs. This has allowed new CZIs – which in England alone encompass communities with more than 85,000 resident children – to:

  • catalyse and sustain their development
  • plan strategically for long-term sustainable change
  • establish innovative, locally-bespoke configurations of partners and interventions
  • improve outcomes for children, families, schools and services, however challenging their situations.

In England, the research of Dr Kerr and her team has underpinned Save the Children’s ‘Children’s Community’ initiative in Wallsend (reaching c.2,000 children), Pembury (c.1,000 children) and Smallshaw (c.3,500 children), and informed its more specifically-targeted place-based Early Learning Communities. The Peabody Community Foundation, the local lead for Pembury Children’s Community, has also independently utilised the Manchester model in developing new-generation CZIs in Waltham Forest and Thamesmead.

Acting on the research term’s principled model, new generation CZIs have already improved:

  • children’s educational progress
  • children’s and families’ access to and engagement with services
  • children’s well-being
  • family well-being
  • schools’ and partner services’ effectiveness

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