Poverty Proofing the School Day at Diamond Wood Community Academy
At Diamond Wood Community Academy we are committed to poverty proofing our school day. Through locality-based training our staff are becoming up-skilled in identifying and overcoming the barriers associated with household poverty. This is to ensure our children who are living in poverty are supported and given the opportunity to aspire, achieve and fulfil their ambitions in a safe and inclusive learning environment.
“Poverty Proofing the School Day is about schools reflecting on their day-to-day practice to reduce the stigma and discrimination pupils’ face, with the aim of ensuring that all pupils can participate fully in all aspects of school life.”
North East Child Poverty Commission
According to Government statistics, around 4.1 million children (30%) are living in poverty in the UK today. 70% of children living in poverty live in a household where at least one parent works. Living in poverty impacts upon children’s health both physically and mentally, which in turn can effect attendance in school. This can result in further problems in terms of attainment and a gap widening between their peers but also in the maintenance of friendships.
Here at Diamond Wood Community Academy we want to address these issues, and by working alongside others, including the North East Child Poverty Commission, we will strive to enact changes in school policies and procedures to reflect our commitment to poverty proofing our school.
We endeavour to ensure that all children at Diamond Wood Community Academy experience a compassionate learning environment where they can achieve, have choice and enjoy without the burden of financial constraint.
“Poverty Proofing the School Day aims to support schools to identify and overcome the barriers to learning faced by children and young people from families with fewer financial resources. This process is about schools reflecting on their day-to-day practice to reduce the stigma and discrimination pupils’ face, with the aim of ensuring that all pupils can participate fully in all aspects of school life. While the causes of poverty can be attributed to our economy schools have a crucial role to play in supporting children, young people and their families to loosen the grip that poverty has on them."
North East Child Poverty Commission
The Current Picture (Child poverty has been rising since 2011/12)
- 1 million children are living in poverty within the United Kingdom (17%).
- Within Kirklees, 1 in 5 children under 16yrs are living in low income families (18%).
- 1 in 3 (35%) children in Dewsbury West live in poverty.
- 1 in 5 (19%) of those who are working report that they worry about money all of the time or most of the time.
- Reading, Writing and Maths attainment at the end of primary school is significantly lower for free school meals pupils (51%).
Background to our Proposals
The impact of a child living in poverty can have lifelong implications. They can experience a poorer quality of life, wellbeing and school-image, and are more likely to have a poor diet, and health issues. Children living in poverty are at an increased risk of not being school ready due to;
- Hunger – children at risk of hunger through missing out on breakfast. This can lead to tiredness and disengagement throughout the school day.
- School uniform – Families calculating the total cost of the required school uniform and weighing this against the amount of money made available daily/ weekly for heating, food, transport costs etc.
- School trips – Families unable to cover the cost of school trips – restricting the child’s full positive educational and social experience.
- Narrowing the attainment gap for children living in poverty.
- School staff will be confident in identifying contributing factors of poor behaviours associated with household poverty, and poverty hunger.
- Families will feel supported to make the necessary lifestyle changes to safeguard their children’s health, wellbeing and education.
- Investing in children; it is not just moral obligation, it makes economic sense. Tackling poverty in childhood breaks the cycle of disadvantage, benefiting everyone in society.
- Best start – We aim for all children to have the best start in life.
- Aspire and achieve – We aim for children to aspire and have the ambition to achieve.
- Live well – We aim for children to live healthier lives as they have been given the foundations to build self-esteem, confidence and resilience right from infancy.
- Safe and cohesive – We aim for children to feel happy and safe in school. Children will contribute to decisions that affect them.