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The £20 cut - what now for families?

06 October 2021
The £20 cut to universal credit represents the biggest single cut to social security since World War II and is happening at the same time as food and heating costs are rising. This blog provides practical tips on how to support families struggling to stretch their shrinking budgets. You do not have to be a benefits expert to do this.

Time for Lunch: why children in poverty are currently denied free school meals

03 September 2021
For children living in poverty, school should be a place where they can access learning and essential opportunities in the same way as their peers. Free school meals should be available so children can eat during their school day without any worry and parents have one less thing to think about. That way, children can focus on learning, playing and fully participating in their education. Unfortunately, for more than a third of children in poverty in the UK, access to a free daily meal at school is denied.

Back to school – supporting pupils from low-income families in England

01 September 2021
For many pupils, families and school staff, excitement has been building for the start of the new school year. However, for some families experiencing poverty, this can be a time of anxiety. A time of increased costs as uniforms, PE kits, travel cards and stationery are needed. But there are some straightforward steps that schools can take to ensure that all families and children get off to a great start.

Educational outcomes without secure incomes

17 February 2021
Today, the departing Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, posed an important question in her final speech. She asked how the government can claim to be focused on educational catch-up on the one hand, while at the same time refusing to give families income security and risking more children being pushed into poverty. This is a crucial point. Poverty at home is the strongest statistical predictor of how well a child will do in school.

Learning lessons from last lockdown: what helps school children and families on low incomes

14 January 2021
As a second lockdown begins, school buildings and playgrounds across Scotland are once again closed, and families face more home learning. We all know 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many of us, but for those living on lower incomes the extra pressure has made maintaining family life even harder. As we enter a second lockdown what can we do to ensure school at home will work for everyone? From what children and parents told us last time around, we have established a set of actions and guidelines to help us move forward.

Learning after lockdown: school bells herald extra costs

03 September 2020
This week, schools in England will open their doors to their full school community for the first time in almost six months. We know that families with children have been hardest hit by the economic effects of the pandemic, with 2 in 5 facing financial difficulty, and that the lowest paid have been most badly affected. In this perfect storm of a difficult lockdown and worsening household finances, there needs to be much more focus on family income as children return to school.  

Mind the Gaps: Social security during the pandemic

21 August 2020
We have seen a significant government response to the financial hit many have faced because of the coronavirus – from the job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme to the increase in universal credit (UC) and tax credits. While many families will have benefited from the stability and certainty these welcome interventions have given them, they have not been comprehensive. We are always most worried about the people who fall through the gaps.

Cost of learning in lockdown: Anna’s story

03 July 2020
As part of the research for our Cost of Learning in Lockdown report, we conducted some interviews with parents and carers from across the UK, who shared with us their family’s experience of school closures. We’re now publishing some of these interviews on our blog, to shine a light on these important stories and the issues that they bring up.

Has the government forgotten children during Covid-19?

21 May 2020
The government’s economic response to Covid-19 has, in many ways, been expansive, but there has been a surprising blind spot in relation to the burdens faced by families with children.

The impact of school closures on children living in poverty in Wales

21 April 2020
Coronavirus has sent a seismic shock through the whole of Welsh society. In the space of a few weeks, workplaces and schools have closed, and nearly all of us have experienced major disruption to our normal lives. It has been a deeply unsettling time for welsh children and young people. Nearly half a million children have suddenly found themselves cut off from their schools, their friends and their extended family. In the midst of this, educators are working round the clock to develop distance-learning strategies so children and young people can continue their education at home.