It is generally agreed that the education gap for children from deprived backgrounds has widened over the time of the pandemic. The focus is often on what schools must do to change and improve this – school meals, after school and holiday clubs, resources. All are important in improving the situation for deprived children.
Of equal, if not more importance, is the child’s home life. Often children with learning and behaviour issues come from a chaotic, unstable home life. Parents, maybe with health and addiction issues, are unused or unwilling to work, disorganised, and incapable of providing a reliable, safe environment.
Proactive ongoing and regular support is needed to help as many parents as possible to get control of their lives and provide a safe, loving home for their children.
It‚’s widely accepted that, as school staff have daily contact with children, they are well-placed to identify and recognise when there‚’s a potential issue. Currently children’s services are called in when there is a safeguarding issue.
However a much more proactive approach is needed to engage with parents, improve their skills and prevent issues from becoming extreme, and thereby improve the lives of children.
To achieve this, suitably skilled professionals are needed to work permanently within a school ( as currently Nurses in schools work) . They would deal with in-school children’s issues, but also proactively find ways to engage with parents, provide advice and guidance, advise where to find further support. Currently existing school staff try to achieve this alongside their teaching work, but more dedicated effort is needed.
GP practices employ a social prescriber, with a view to helping patients improve their wellbeing, thereby reducing their health needs. Something similar is needed in schools, particularly Nursery & Primary schools. This will improve education and preparation for secondary school