The Price of Pupil Poverty: Taking a Whole School Approach to Improving the Wellbeing of Children from Low Income and Disadvantaged Backgrounds
Kate Thomas (Development Officer, Price of Pupil Poverty)
The Price of Pupil Poverty Project is supported and funded by Welsh Government as part of their commitment to tackling increasing levels of child poverty and to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of all children in Wales. It is aimed at all maintained schools and educational settings across Wales and is also of value to anyone working with children and young people in order to gain an insight into the impact and effects of poverty
The Price of Pupil Poverty Guides have been written and developed as part of the project for schools and other education settings across Wales to raise awareness of the lived experiences of learners from low income and disadvantaged families, setting out the impact poverty has on children’s day to day lives and to provide schools with tangible and cost effective solutions to help lift barriers towards improved learner wellbeing.
The Guides draw on key Welsh Government legislation, policy and guidance and as such are bespoke for Welsh schools.They are:
Designed in Wales - Developed in Wales - For schools in Wales
Children in Wales have used current research from Wales and beyond and worked with a variety of child poverty and education experts to develop the Guides, including the four regional education consortia in Wales, End Child Poverty Network Cymru, third sector organisations and the office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
The Price of Pupil Poverty Project has been commissioned by Welsh Government to support schools to implement the Guides alongside use of the Pupil Development Grant for schools and the Pupil Development Grant – Access payments awarded directly to families, the development of Community Focused Schools and the roll-out of free school meals for all primary school pupils, as well as other Welsh Government funded initiatives such as the ‘Food and Fun’ School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP) to tackle disadvantage in our schools.
The Guides explain how poverty impacts on five Key Areas of the school day:
Each Key Area has examples of what practical steps schools can take by applying a whole school approach, many of which are low cost or no cost measures. The Price of Pupil Poverty Guides plus other support materials can be found here on Hwb, the Welsh Government Education online platform.
Work with schools and other educational settings began in conjunction with the four regional education consortia and has involved working with a number of pilot schools across Wales to implement the Guides within the school setting. Supported by a dedicated Children in Wales Development Officer, schools used a whole school approach to undertake awareness training, complete a simple checklist and put together an action plan based upon the five key areas of the Guides.
Schools have since been invited to take part in the second phase of the project in which Children in Wales provide:
· An information pack and access to a number of key resources to help implement the Price of Pupil Poverty Guides within the school setting
· An initial meeting with a Price of Pupil Poverty Development Officer to advise on how to use the resources and guides in the best way
· A training session for staff to raise awareness of the impact of child poverty and to introduce the Guides.
· A case study of the work carried out during the project
Case studies provide a useful document to share with strategic partners such as the local consortia, local authority and Estyn when looking at how equity is enabled across the school and can also serve as best practice examples for other schools in Wales with many published on the Welsh Government Education Hwb online platform.
Children in Wales have also produced a Price of Pupil Poverty Guide for Governors, setting out how governors can fit in to the whole school approach along with advice and suggestions on how to go about it.
Since the project’s inception, wider work has also been undertaken to explore ways of joint working between schools, outside agencies and communities. This includes a research project in partnership with University of South Wales exploring the needs of families and work to link schools with local housing associations to provide community facilities.
We have also fed into initial teacher training programmes to ensure awareness of the barriers faced by children of low income and disadvantaged families as well as exploring associated issues such as bullying and homelessness to look at ways of linking together work with third sector partners such as Kidscape and Shelter Cymru.
We are currently looking to expand our project work with schools in Wales and invite any interested schools to contact us at Pupil.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Price of Pupil Poverty Project aims to support schools and educational settings across Wales to consider and implement the Guides using a whole school approach in order to create a more equitable educational experience for children and young people from low income or disadvantaged families.
The associated costs with the school day leave many pupils disadvantaged and not fulfilling their potential. The guides, which are embedded in children's rights and wellbeing, provide ways that schools can take action to ensure that poverty is not a barrier for their pupils.
With the recent pandemic forcing more people than ever into poverty, the guides will be even more relevant. We aim to support all schools across Wales to consider and implement the guides in order to create a more equitable experience for those pupils from low income and disadvantaged families. By raising awareness and encouraging schools to act on key areas of the guides, we can prevent barriers to pupils’ learning and the negative impact on their wellbeing, where ‘no child is left behind’ as a result of poverty.
Kate Thomas is the dedicated development officer for the project and works with schools, third sector partners and key education stakeholders across Wales towards ensuring that no child in Wales has to pay the Price of Pupil Poverty.
Kate Thomas email@example.com
For general enquiries, contact Pupil.firstname.lastname@example.org