Children living in poverty are being held back from joining in on activities and events that are crucial in helping their educational development, a leading charity is warning. This is from Wales Online…
The report by Save the Children has taken in the views of nearly 200 young people aged between 11 and 14 from across Wales.
Save the Children outlines six recommendations for the Welsh Government, local authorities and schools in its report, Small Voice: Big Story.
The research, put together by young people, identified how low self-worth and lack of confidence can have an impact on behaviour and learning in school.
It also found a warm and safe environment at home, a supportive family and a good education were things that children said were important to help them reach their potential at school.
One of the report’s authors, Alison Beesley, 18, from Cwmbach near Aberdare said that not having a lot of money did affect the activities she could take part in at school.
She said: “There were times I couldn’t go on trips because we couldn’t afford it. Some of my friends could afford to go on skiing trips and to places like Oakwood but I always found myself making excuses why I couldn’t go and I felt really awkward.
“Buying text books for my studies were also expensive so I just went without and tried to keep up without them.
“I also couldn’t join in with a lot of the things my friends were doing such as going to town or the cinema. I’d never been to Cardiff until I was 16. But I understood that it was a lot of money to ask my parents for to do all these things, so I never asked them, although I know they would have tried to find the money.”
Alison has now applied to go to university in September and said she was determined to work hard at school and get a good education.
The report, put together by Young Researchers Alison, Amelia John, 16 from Mountain Ash, Brandon Steverson, 17, from Tonteg, near Pontypridd, and Lauren Crisp, 18, from Aberdare, makes six recommendations for Welsh Government, Local Authorities, schools and governors in Wales to take forward.
It calls for Cartref I Cartref (Home to Home) study centres, where children can work in a pleasant environment, one to one support from other students, somebody to talk to about home and school, a special fund for children to ‘join in’, to fund activities and clubs, real life careers advice, including a free app, and a commitment for young people to continue carrying out research.
Mary Powell Chandler, head of Save the Children in Wales said the impact of poverty was complex and it was not surprising that it has a serious impact on a child’s ability to do well at school.
She said: “That is why this report really matters as it is young people themselves sharing their views and experiences with us. Every child has the potential to shine if given the chance.
“We can help to turn the ‘small voices’ in this report into a really ‘big story’ and by working together make sure that our generation is the one to end the link between poverty and education in Wales, which still holds so many of our children back from the futures they deserve.”