At the turn of the year, it was reported that 30% of children living in the United Kingdom are below the poverty threshold line. With some areas turning out higher figures than others, many focussed their attention on particularly deprived regions. However, a report released this week by BBC News has found that the poverty wave is sweeping the entire country and having an alarming impact on children, as noted by numerous Headteachers.
The BBC presented various stories of teachers washing clothes for their pupils, opening doors on snow days so children could access a hot meal and notable changes in appearances such as grey skin, poor teeth and hair and noticeably thinner figures.
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, explained, “with nine children in every classroom of 30 falling below the official poverty line, it is time to rebuild the safety net for struggling families.”
The Department for Education responded by pointing to investments in the Opportunity Areas programme, Pupil Premium and breakfast clubs but is the funding distribution going far enough?
Just last week, the government launched a call for evidence into the support being offered to ‘children in need’. With young people classed in this bracket showing significantly poorer educational outcomes, the enquiries seek to find what can be done to close the gap through all services.
44% of children in low income deprivation bands are either on Children in Need Plans, Child Protection Plans or Looked After Children Plans and their attainment levels are significantly lower than their peers:
- 42% of children in need reach a ‘good level of development’ in the Early Years Foundation Stage, compared to 70% of their classmates.
- In Key Stage 2, 25% of children in need reach the expected level of reading, writing and maths, a stark contrast to 54% of their peers.
- The attainment gap is even wider in Key Stage 4 where 19% of children in need reach the expected English and Maths levels, 44% below the level for their peers.
It will be interesting to see what comes from the call for action but, in the meantime, a growing number of children continue to fight against deprivation barriers that are hindering their progress in all areas of life.
To find out how Evolve are supporting the health and wellbeing of such children, contact Josh Cronin on email@example.com.