SHS in the media: challenges at Christmas on BBC Breakfast

SHS in the media: challenges at Christmas on BBC Breakfast

News article from December 20, 2018

On Monday 17 December 2018, School-Home Support featured on BBC Breakfast. We were highlighting the issue of rising child poverty, and how families are struggling more than ever – but particularly at Christmas time.

“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.”

– John Maguire, BBC Breakfast Reporter

The piece included a candid roundtable discussion with SHS Practitioner Hopieann and parents at English Martyrs’ RC Primary School, which Hopieann is based in. Hyacinth Appah, the Headteacher at EMS also shared how she has seen pupil poverty increase in recent years.

Additionally, the National Education Union ran a ‘Pupil Poverty Teachers’ Survey’ which revealed stark results from over 1,000 UK teachers:

  • 53% say children will go hungry over Christmas
  •  63% say fewer children will have adequate winter clothing
  • 46% are seeing a rise in housing problems

SHS Practitioner, Hopieann Platt, was interviewed about the early interventional work she does with families facing disadvantage. The support she gives covers issues such as poverty, unstable housing, immigration issues and emotional well-being. Hopieann embodies the passion and commitment of SHS, and we’d like to thank her for her continued support and the impact she makes.

The government also featured in the report, stating that

“There are 300,000 fewer children living in absolute poverty, employment is at a record and we’re committed to ensuring every child gets the very best chances.”

Unfortunately, this is simply not the reality our families experience.

4.1 million children are currently living in poverty in the UK. In a class of thirty, nine students will be from deprived backgrounds, making them almost three times more likely to be persistently absent from school than those from the least deprived areas. Poverty is impacting over 30% of children in the UK – what life chances do they have at the moment?

School-Home Support exists to support these children and their families. But requests made to the SHS Welfare Fund have become increasingly basic, with families struggling to afford even the most essential items, such as food and heating. There has also been a significant growth of ‘in-work’ poverty, and more must be done to support families that, despite their best efforts, are struggling to make ends meet.

As a gesture of gratitude to the parents who shared their experiences with us and the BBC, we provided Christmas presents to every child in each family. Find out more about our #SHSChristmasKindness campaign and see how you can get involved for 2019.

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