A new report published by The Children’s Society explores what it’s like to grow up in poverty as a child in Britain today. Understanding Childhoods marks the launch of a qualitative, longitudinal study over three years, which began in 2015 with a sample of 60 young people who are interviewed annually.
Looking to increase its understanding of the issues of poverty in childhood, the Children’s Society, partnering with the University of Bath, have set out to look at children’s experiences of growing up in poverty over time.
This initial report focuses on four key themes: housing, school, neighbourhood and money and material things. In the discussions of school, the research specifically looked at:
the ways in which school life can be difficult for some young people living in low income households, particularly at secondary level
the challenges faced accessing adequate and desirable food in a non-stigmatising way
the costs of school for those in poverty can be prohibitive of learning and enrichment opportunities
how issues of poverty can be treated as behavioural infringements and children penalised accordingly
The Children’s Society has used the report to support a number of recommendations previously made to help children growing up in poverty including:
all teachers should receive training on childhood poverty and its impact on children’s education
ensuring that Ofsted inspects schools on how they support the poorest pupils
allow children to have a say in how Pupil Premium money is spent
ensure schools make uniforms affordable
Governing boards have a key role in asking why some groups of pupils may be progressing less well than in other schools and what is being done to raise performance for those children