We firmly believe that education is the key to social mobility – but educational inequality starts early and cannot be solved in the classroom alone.
There were 4.2 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2021-22, which is nearly 30% of children.
One in five children in England, which is two million young people, live in overcrowded, unaffordable or inadequate houses.
There are approximately 800,000 young carers across the UK, sometimes having to care for family members when they should be at school.
Over 2 million children in the UK today are estimated to be living in difficult family circumstances. Our monitoring has identified that the vulnerable children and young people we work with are:
Twice as likely to have parents that need support with school engagement
Twice as likely to have special educational needs
Three times as likely to have problems because of family relationships
Three times as likely to have child protection and/or safeguarding issues
Four times as likely to need support because of mental health issues
Four times as likely to have parents that need support with employment, training or education
Six times as likely to be affected by domestic violence
Nine times as likely to need support because of drug or alcohol abuse problems
Last year, a staggering 1.6 million children were persistently absent from school, double the figures from before the pandemic in 2018/19.
Children with serious challenges at home such as poverty, hunger, or homelessness, don’t go into the classroom on a level playing field with their peers.
The link between disadvantage and low school attendance is stark. Nearly 2 in 5 pupils who were eligible for free school meals were persistently absent in 2021/22, compared to 17.5% of pupils who were not eligible.
These children are missing weeks, months and even years of their education, severely affecting their future life chances. And it’s not just their future that is at risk: children not in school are not safe. They are more vulnerable to becoming involved in dangerous behaviours like gang activity, drugs or alcohol.
The consequences of missing school are clear. At any period during a pupil’s school life, as the level of overall absence increases, the likelihood of achieving five good GCSEs decreases. Educational attainment is identified as the main driver that causes poor children to become poor adults.
We work to change that.
Since 1984, we’ve been working in partnership with schools and families to ensure children have the support they need to thrive and achieve at school. We work with the whole family to build resilience and ensure children’s education is prioritised.
From our dedicated frontline specialists, based in schools, local authorities and communities, to corporate volunteers hosting Aspiration Sessions, and expert training for pastoral professionals, we are national leaders in raising attendance and increasing parental engagement, so that disadvantaged children have better life chances.
“Hopieann Platt provides a lifeline. She works for the charity School-Home Support. As the name suggests, it helps families to ensure their children are in school and learning – even if they’re struggling to make ends meet.”