Removing attainment barriers to tackle child poverty

4th July 2014

NIACE believes that the new Child Poverty Strategy 2014-17 addresses many of the issues that the Government must act on to tackle child poverty, but would like to see more focus on the role that family learning can play.

The strategy – published by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education – includes supporting families into work and increasing their earnings, improving living standards and preventing poor children becoming poor adults through raising their educational attainment.

Carol Taylor, Deputy Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“This comprehensive strategy effectively highlights the complex and diverse challenges a number of agencies face in tackling child poverty. Some of the concrete proposals for action represent a significant opportunity for change. NIACE believes that by giving more focus to the role of parents and carers will have a greater impact, as they are a child’s first educator.

“Whilst contact with agencies is often vital, the impact of such engagement may be limited due to the absence of learning opportunities for parents to develop their own ability and confidence to support their children. What’s needed goes beyond parenting classes and free books initiatives, important though they are. Family learning in primary and pre-schools has a hugely significant role to play in improving children’s attainment at school. Our own inquiry into family learning found that developing a sense of a learning family, where parents are skilled to help their children’s development, impacts on their future life and work prospects. This also allows adults to develop their own which helps them to work their way out of poverty.

“If we really want to increase educational attainment to help end child poverty then we must see an increase in investment and encourage schools to use initiatives – like the Pupil Premium – to provide great quality family learning which will directly impact on the attainment, resilience and life chances of children and families.”