Today we are releasing our ‘Turning the Page on Poverty’ resource, co-produced with Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the National Education Union (NEU). The resource, aimed at helping teachers and school staff tackle poverty in the classroom, has been developed based on our years of experience working directly with schools to remove barriers to learning through our Poverty Proofing the School Day and Cost of the School Day programmes. Francesca Hogg, from our Poverty Proofing and Participation Service, tells us more about this fantastic resource.
This resource comes at a time when, as a result of the pandemic, households have experienced a further reduction in finances, hitting families with children hardest. Some of these families will have been pulled deeper into poverty, whilst some will be experiencing it for the first time.
The ripple effect of poverty means it inevitably impacts school life. It means struggling with school-related costs such as uniform, resources and school trips but it also means poorer health, social and educational outcomes all of which impact children’s ability to fully participate in school life.
Each school is different with unique challenges and opportunities, so a ‘one size fits all’ approach to tackling poverty in the classroom doesn’t work. However, using our knowledge of poverty and the lessons we learned through our work in schools, this resource gives schools practical guidance and information on the drivers and impact of poverty and provides approaches teachers and school staff can adapt to support families living in poverty.
By no means do we think schools can solve the inequalities in society, but by challenging the policies and practices within our schools, they can reflect the way we want society to be. We know there are lots of examples of schools having support in place for pupils and their families, but to really understand what support is needed in a local context, we must put children at the centre of decision making and policies within our schools.
We need to understand what the school day looks like for a child growing up in poverty and how we can create equitable opportunities for all pupils.
It is through our collective knowledge and experience of working with schools and children living in poverty, we hope this resource will equip teachers and school staff with the practical tools needed to drive forward the conversation on poverty within schools and address the challenges poverty presents.