Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Scots children born into poverty cannot escape without early intervention

The Record has put out another gloom and doom article about poverty in Scotland.

"Give or take one or two, 147 babies will be born in Scotland today."

"Tragically, the lives of many will have already been decided, their fates already sealed, before they even arrive home from hospital."

"There are thousands of Scots children born into poverty, this year and every year, who will never escape it."

"They will begin school at least 13 months behind pupils from our better-off neighbourhoods and the gap between them will only widen as the years pass."

"They will struggle to find a job, any job. Their potential will remain untapped. Their talents forever unknown."

"And then they will die, a dozen years or more before those fortunate enough to be born to better-off parents..."

The article is another opportunity for the experts to put across the idea that what is required to bridge the gap between the better off and the less well off is to focus on the first three years of life. Education is the key to self improvement but this is early education that will target children and parents before the seeds of a negative cycle are sewn. So there is no need to look at what is going on in schools. Instead, pay attention to the family.

Jim McCormick, associate director for Scotland with social development charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), says: "We are not talking about getting every child in Scotland to have five Highers but it is about every child having a strong grasp of functional literacy and maths and being able to pursue a subject vocationally or otherwise."

Achieving functional literacy and maths and being able to pursue a subject vocationally is hardly reaching for the stars. The implication is that although past generations of disadvantaged Scottish people were able to achieve that, today`s poor are so deforming their children within the first three years of life, that even that meagre ambition is beyond them.

Encouragingly, Ann Marie Burns, early years officer with Glasgow Life, points out that it is never too early to protect children`s future.

Actually, it is never too late. But to focus on that would blow the idea of early intervention out of the water.

1 comment:


    "Research by the respected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that 16- to 24-year-olds lag close to the bottom of global league tables in literacy and numeracy.
    According to figures, England is ranked 22nd out of 24 western countries in terms of literacy and 21st for numeracy – being outperformed by nations such as Estonia, Poland and Slovakia." [Scotland isn`t much different in relation to England]

    "In a damning conclusion, it was also revealed that levels of basic skills had effectively worsened over the last 40 years, with recent school leavers registering lower scores in tests than their parents’ or grandparents’ generation."