Impoverished Child = Impoverished Education

Child Poverty

“Children starting school this month should be free from poverty by 2020 – or will they?

The first weeks of school for many children should mark the beginning of a bright future, but for the 3.8 million children living in poverty in the UK, it instead reaffirms the cycle of poverty into which they are born.

A new briefing from the Campaign to End Child Poverty, states that closing the education gap is essential if we are to improve the life-chances of the children in poverty in the UK and meet the Government’s 2020 target to end child poverty.

By the age of three, poor students can lag as much as nine months behind their better off peers.[1] This gap grows over time, with many poor children falling two years behind by the age of 14,[2] setting the stage for a downward spiral of unequal chances and diminishing returns that will play out for the rest of their lives.

These findings are reinforced by the Child Poverty Action Group’s report: Chicken and egg: child poverty and educational inequalities also released today.

Martin Narey, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, and Chair of End Child Poverty, said: “Poor children have an unequal chance from their first day at school. As well as the varying quality of state schools, poor children are also lacking outside of the classrooms – often living in poor housing, with a lack of school books and no computer at home, as well as the disadvantage of missing out on extra curricular activities.

Although the Government have made significant investment in Sure Start Children’s Centres and Neighbourhood Nurseries Initatives (NNI) there is still more to be done, in order to make their 2020 target a reality.”

Hilary Fisher, Director of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, said: “Poverty is a major barrier to gaining a successful education. Whether it is arriving at school without breakfast unable to concentrate, being bullied for looking different because they can’t afford expensive school uniforms or missing school trips, children from low-income families face real challenges. As a result, many leave school without qualifications directly impacting on their ability to succeed as adults.”

The Campaign to End Child Poverty believes that if children starting school this year are to be free of poverty by 2020, as the Government has pledged, the Government must:

· Ensure access to high quality early years provision for every child from a low-income family.
· Aim to close the gap between state and private school funding levels and ensure that new spending is geared towards schools in the poorest areas or with the poorest intake.
· Ensure education works for all children by rolling out personalised learning agendas in schools to guarantee increased support, particularly for those from the poorest backgrounds.
· Invest the £4 billion to halve child poverty by 2010

Without these significant improvements within the funding and provision of education, the Government’s long-term goal to end child poverty by 2020 will not be reached.”
http://www.cpag.org.uk/press/120907.htm

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