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Poverty is not inevitable: What can schools do about it?

02 October 2021
Volume 2 · Issue 5


The facts don't lie. Poverty is a consequence of the structures and inequalities of society. It is not inevitable. Government must act, but so can we. Luke Bramhall asks what professionals working in schools can do to prevent poverty from limiting children's chances

Poverty is not a thing of the past. This is what we were told 10 years ago. It was 2011 – a year when there was a Child Poverty Act hoping to eradicate child poverty by 2020, when there was a new commitment across political parties to address this issue.

So where are we now? Well, 10 years on and we are seeing rising levels of poverty, food banks becoming the norm, and a housing crisis. If poverty wasn't a thing of the past 10 years ago, it certainly isn't now.

The inevitable question of what can be done now, within a climate of budget cuts, austerity and a country recovering from a life-changing pandemic, can almost feel futile to consider.

There were 4.3 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2019/20 according to data from the Department for Work and Pensions. That is 31% of children, or nine in a classroom of 30 (Department for Work and Pensions [DWP], 2021).

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