Sutton Trust on Social Mobility

Poverty and disadvantage can have  severe impacts on children’s educational experience


Commenting on new research looking at the extent to which the talent of high-potential disadvantaged young people is being wasted due to inequalities in society and education, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:   

“These new findings help to demonstrate the scale of inequality in our society, which is reflected in the school system. That poverty and disadvantage can have such severe impacts on children’s educational experience is a stark message to Government that they must do more to support schools to make education work for every child. 

“Children experiencing hardship and poverty face particular barriers to accessing education. Stigma and social exclusion prevent learners focusing on their schooling.  Access to resources is limited. Pressure of time - when children have caring responsibilities in the home - is acute.  

“Our members see this every day in their schools. In a recent survey 78% of teachers told us that they or their school is providing help with uniforms for disadvantaged pupils, as well as 58% providing extra food during the day. That is why the No Child Left Behind group – led by the NEU – is campaigning for free school meals for all primary-age pupils. 

“It shouldn’t fall on teachers or schools to be providing support where there are huge gaps in social provision. Education is an entitlement that should be accessible to all, regardless of economic fortunes or prior attainment. The Government must urgently and sustainably uplift school funding to give schools the resources they need. It must ensure that funding for programmes such as the NTP is sufficient and long-term. These kinds of support must be available to all schools and all disadvantaged children, not just those with high prior attainment.” 

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