A report focussing on poverty with reference to current policy and educational debate
This report aims to explain the effects of poverty on attainment in schools and the wider society: taking into consideration a number of national and local strategies, the causes of poverty and the long term effects on children and young adults. This report will also make recommendations as to what can be done to further reduce poverty in childhood.
Poverty is continually discussed at parliamentary level, the national agenda drives local agendas and delivery differs from one local authority to another. Within this report the poverty line set by the government will be discussed, and with reference to the 20/20 campaign, the intentions by the government to reduce child poverty by 2020 in response to The Child Poverty Act (2010).
Poverty is measured in a number of ways (Poverty.org, 2007): absolute poverty whereby a family lives on less than £x amount per day, a figure that includes every country in the world, which when you consider the levels of poverty in most of the third world countries, the view that the UK does not register absolute poverty is a fair assumption. Relative poverty whereby a family lives on a daily income of a percentage less than the national average (Poverty.org, 2007) is more observable in the UK due to the amount of people unemployed, 2.645 million as at March 2012.
Pugh (2001) makes reference to the government’s “over-riding policy commitment to reducing the number of children living below or on the poverty line” and suggests that alongside the 2020 campaign that this is achievable if it is clear what poverty is, what causes poverty, what causes child poverty in the UK, what will happen if child poverty is not tackled and with the current policies in place how can these help to reach the goals?
Although the government state that ending child poverty is the aim and the responsibility of everyone, it is also their responsibility to ensure that everyone understands the positive outcomes that will be reached once child poverty is ended. The continuous cycle of deprivation that occurs when a child is brought up within a society where they cannot afford basic essentials needed to sustain growth, be healthy, stay safe, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing are well documented. Neurological research has proven that families living in poverty are less able to ensure that children receive suitable and necessary cognitive stimulation and therefore may not reach their potential thus reducing their expectations and ability to move out of poverty (Families and Work Institute, 1996).
3.0 Policy context
In 2002 the UN General Assembly met to discuss the agenda for ‘A world fit for children’ and the 180 nations represented set the agenda highlighting 21 specific goals and targets to eradicate child poverty over the course of a decade (Appendix 1). The nations involved took away an agenda and prepared to meet the targets set.
3.1 Every Child Matters
Another national strategy to end childhood poverty is the ‘Every Child Matters’ programme whereby the five outcomes stated, one of which is ‘achieve economic wellbeing’ is to aim to reduce the number of children living in workless households and subsequently improve their standard of living. However the term ‘wellbeing’ is contentious in that depending on which part of the country a child lives the standard of living may differ from that of a child from another area, and what might be observed as living in a affluent area to one person may not be perceived to be the same by another.
3.2 The 20/20 campaign
The aims of the UN General Assembly are to end child poverty. A number of organisations have become involved in a bid to end child poverty, most notably Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Save the Children and Barnardos. When you consider the ‘Chicken and the Egg’ idea (CPAG, 2007) unless children are given an...
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