19th July 2018

NHS Health Scotland has taken a look at multiple studies, such as Growing Up in Scotland and Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children, to explore how the environments children are born, grow and learn in can affect their educational outcomes. Its report can be read here.

NHS Health Scotland’s findings match Connect’s own experiences working with parents. There are many things that affect parents’ interaction with school and with their own child’s learning: poor education experiences in their own childhood; money worries so they can’t afford home learning games and activities, activity clubs or school trips; and the everyday stresses of feeding and clothing a family are some of these.

However, strong family relationships and supportive parenting can help to lessen the impact of living in disadvantaged circumstances. We have always argued that parents are the first and most important educators of their children, and almost always want the best for their children. It is important all parents get the support they need to achieve this. Nurseries and schools have an important role, by understanding the effects living in poverty can have on children, by reducing the cost of the school day as much as possible and by providing a supportive environment.

NHS Health Scotland argues two important actions are needed to tackle child poverty: maximising household incomes by giving information about what is available on welfare and money advice, and strategies to reduce and prevent the effects of living in a low-income household. The health body points to current projects which can help, such as the Cost of the School Day project and Healthier Wealthier Children.