All posts tagged: Disadvantaged

How England’s scrapped Sure Start centres boosted the health and education of disadvantaged children

How England’s scrapped Sure Start centres boosted the health and education of disadvantaged children

The Sure Start programme was launched in 1999, with centres set up in communities across England to offer support to the most disadvantaged families. These centres had significant investment and a broad remit that focused on improving the lives of families. They offered support for families with children aged up to five, as well as high-quality play, learning and childcare experiences for children. They also provided healthcare and advice about family health and child health, as well as development and support for people with special needs. But after 2010, funding was cut significantly and many of the centres closed. Now, a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has laid out some of their benefits. The research found that access to a Sure Start centre significantly improved the GCSE results of disadvantaged children. This builds on other research that has shown that Sure Start also had significant long-term health benefits. This research suggests that at its peak, Sure Start prevented 13,000 hospitalisations of children aged 11-15. These findings come as no surprise to those …

Children in care ‘effectively disadvantaged’ by state-funded faith schools says Office of Schools Adjudicator

Children in care ‘effectively disadvantaged’ by state-funded faith schools says Office of Schools Adjudicator

Vulnerable children in England are continuing to miss out on school places because of faith-based admissions, the Office of Schools Adjudicator (OSA) has said in its annual report. This is the fourth report of the OSA to highlight how ‘looked after’ and ‘previously looked after children’ (the formal term for children who are or were in care) are being disadvantaged by state-funded faith schools. Humanists UK, which has long campaigned for fair school admissions for all children regardless of background, has said these findings highlight the need for the UK Government to make fair admissions, regardless of faith, a legal requirement once and for all.  The OSA oversees the Schools Admissions Code and ensures compliance of it from English schools. Its recently released 2023 Annual Report states that local authorities ‘are still reporting that schools which have religious character in their area effectively disadvantage looked after children who are not of their faith of the school because of the combined effect of their faith-based oversubscription criteria and the local pattern of schooling.’ A 2021 report …

Former Education Minister Says Childcare Needs Boost For Students And Disadvantaged Families

Former Education Minister Says Childcare Needs Boost For Students And Disadvantaged Families

Provision of free childcare for working families is being expanded this week (Alamy) 5 min read38 min Chair of the Education Select Committee Robin Walker has said Government childcare measures must go further to support families and the early years sector, urging the government to expand provisions to graduate students and disadvantaged groups. On Monday, provision of free childcare will be extended to working families with two-year-olds for 15 hours a week, which will then increase to 30 hours for all under-fives from September 2025. Walker, a Tory MP and former education minister between 2021 and 2022, told PoliticsHome that any expansion of childcare provisions was “very welcome”, but said that his committee would be closely watching what the outcome of the new provisions will be in the coming years – particularly in whether there is a significant change in the number of parents accessing early years care and which groups are reached across the country. “To what extent are you providing subsidies for things that people would otherwise be paying …

Pupils in Wales perform only as well as disadvantaged children in England – IFS | Schools

Pupils in Wales perform only as well as disadvantaged children in England – IFS | Schools

Wales’s new first minister, Vaughan Gething, faces a major challenge in improving the country’s schools, after the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that pupils in Wales were performing only as well as disadvantaged children in England. The IFS study follows Wales’s weak performance in the OECD’s most recent Programme for international student assessment (Pisa) standings, in which results in Wales declined by more than in other UK nations and were well below the average across OECD countries. Wales’s lower attainment cannot be explained by higher levels of poverty, according to the IFS, as pupils in areas of England with higher or similar levels of deprivation such as Liverpool or Gateshead achieved “significantly higher” GCSE results than their counterparts in Wales. The IFS said the Pisa results showed the average pupil in Wales performed at the same level as the most disadvantaged children in England, despite education spending per pupil being similar. Luke Sibieta, the author of the IFS study, said: “Faced with this gloomy picture, policymakers should have the courage to make reforms based on …

Living in disadvantaged neighborhoods linked to lower cognitive abilities, independent of brain pathology

Living in disadvantaged neighborhoods linked to lower cognitive abilities, independent of brain pathology

New research has found a significant link between neighborhood socioeconomic status and the cognitive abilities of older individuals, irrespective of underlying brain pathologies commonly associated with dementia. The findings, which have been published in in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, suggest that one’s living conditions are closely related to their brain’s resilience to decline in later life. The rationale for this investigation stems from the observation that, despite significant advances in understanding the neuropathological underpinnings of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions, there remains a notable discrepancy in how these biological markers correlate with cognitive decline across different individuals. Interestingly, some people maintain robust cognitive functions even in the presence of substantial neuropathological changes. This phenomenon suggests the existence of a cognitive reserve—a concept proposing that certain life experiences and attributes can provide a protective buffer against cognitive deterioration. Previous research has linked individual socioeconomic factors, such as income, education, and occupation, to cognitive outcomes. Additionally, emerging studies have begun to shed light on the role of neighborhood-level socioeconomic factors, showing that living in …

The Turing scheme was supposed to help more disadvantaged UK students study abroad – but they may still be losing out

The Turing scheme was supposed to help more disadvantaged UK students study abroad – but they may still be losing out

The loss of access for UK university students to the Erasmus+ scheme – a Europe-wide exchange programme that offers students the opportunity and funding to study or work abroad for up to a year – was a widely mourned consequence of Brexit. The UK government announced a replacement, the Turing scheme, in December 2020. This scheme funds education or training placements outside the UK – in theory, anywhere in the world. Unlike Erasmus+, though, it is not a reciprocal exchange scheme. It does not fund overseas students coming to the UK. The first students took part in the academic year 2021-22, and the government published an evaluation of the first year the scheme in January 2024. It shows that while most student participants reported a positive experience, both the length of placements and the timeline of the application process may have penalised students from less well-off backgrounds. When the UK government launched the Turing scheme, widening participation – making study abroad accessible to a more diverse group of students – was a key objective. The …

disadvantaged pupils ‘less likely to be admitted’ to faith schools

disadvantaged pupils ‘less likely to be admitted’ to faith schools

A new report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) released today starkly highlights how faith schools are failing disadvantaged pupils. This is just the latest batch of damning evidence.  The report sets out how schools linked to dioceses, both in Multi-Academy Trusts and non-Multi Academy Trusts, have pupil intakes that are ‘less representative’ of the local area in which they are based. The report recommends a review of the schools admission code ‘with a focus on inclusion’.  Any review, the EPI argues, should ‘consider why certain types of school groups (such as dioceses) appear to be less likely to reflect their local areas in terms of the number of pupils from low-income backgrounds that they admit.’ Fit for purpose? In an answer to a written question on the adequacy of the schools admission code from Sir Stephen Timms MP this week (8 February), Schools Minister Damian Hinds MP stated the code contained provisions ‘to ensure that children from low-income backgrounds are not unfairly disadvantaged’, while accepting that the code remained under constant review to ensure …

Faith schools admit fewer disadvantaged pupils than other schools – Humanists UK

Faith schools admit fewer disadvantaged pupils than other schools – Humanists UK

Confirmed fact: Faith schools are ‘consistently more socially selective’ than schools without a religious character, a new report by the Sutton Trust has found.  Faith schools admit fewer students eligible for free school meals (FSM) than would be expected given their catchment areas.  This trend is especially pronounced among the ‘top-performing’ faith schools. Shockingly, 19 of the 20 most socially selective schools in England have a religious character (95%). Catholic schools were the least representative of the population and the least likely to cater to disadvantaged children in their catchment areas.   Humanists UK – which has long campaigned for an end to religiously selective admissions policies on the basis that they segregate children by faith, socio-economic status, ethnicity, and prior attainment – said the study provides yet more evidence that faith-based admissions are bad for society.  Humanists UK has called for state schools to be open to all children regardless of religion or belief.  The Sutton Trust is the UK’s largest charity focusing on social mobility in the education sector. It is highly regarded for …

Inequality is dividing England. Is more devolution the answer for its disadvantaged regions?

Inequality is dividing England. Is more devolution the answer for its disadvantaged regions?

Twenty-five years ago, when new institutions of national government were created in Scotland and Wales, they reflected the widely held view that the Welsh and Scots should have more control over their economies, aspects of welfare provision and key public services. Yet at that time, hardly anyone thought devolution might be applied to England – despite it being the largest, wealthiest and most populated part of the UK. Today, things look rather different. The notion of English devolution has morphed from being of interest only to constitutional experts to being a preoccupation of Britain’s politicians as we approach the next general election – many of whom have lost confidence in the capacity of central government to tackle the country’s most deeply-rooted problems. A historic £4.2bn devolution deal, which will bring together seven councils under an elected mayor of the North East in May 2024, is the latest attempt to address some of the deep geographical inequalities that disfigure and disenfranchise large areas of England. Meanwhile, much of English local government is experiencing immense financial pressures, …

Turing Scheme transforms education for disadvantaged students post-Brexit | Politics | News

Turing Scheme transforms education for disadvantaged students post-Brexit | Politics | News

Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are studying around the world under “game-changer” Brexit reforms in education. More than 40,000 young people are taking part this year in the Turing Scheme that was introduced after Britain left the European Union. It replaced the bloc’s Eramus+ system that critics claimed favoured students from wealthier backgrounds. Skills Minister Robert Halfon said: “The Turing Scheme is a real game-changer for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, empowering them with transformative opportunities abroad, a chance to experience other cultures and learn vital skills for life and work. “It showcases our positive ambition post-Brexit, fostering a global outlook for more students who deserve every chance to thrive.” “Young people benefit from inspirational placements around the world, not just Europe, building the confidence and skills they need for their future, whilst bolstering the government’s drive for a Global Britain.” The scheme, named after renowned World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing, allows students to study and work in more than 160 different countries. Official figures show 60 per cent of participants this year are from disadvantaged …