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Impact of Environment and Poverty on Children's Educational Attainment

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 2720 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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This assignment will consider to what extent the environment and poverty can

influence children’s educational attainment and development. This will be done by analysing and evaluating different perceptions of Education and Social justice in comparison to gender, race and social class. This assignment aims to evaluate whether the young generation of today can fulfil their true academic potential through the current education system.

Education is an important part of an individual’s life. “Education is the engine of our economy, it is the foundation of our culture, and it is essential preparation for adult life.” (GOV.UK ,2015) Therefore, this allows for individuals to share and gain knowledge of other cultural capital, but to let children develop their skills. In the UK education is accessible for all children between the ages of 5 to 18. Equality through the education system means no one is disadvantaged, even for families who struggle this is due to the “6.5 million funds to boost the social mobility through projects to support children who need the most help with early language and speech skills”. (GOV, 2018) However, through a child’s education factors can affect their experience such as poverty. Poverty is one of the indicators within an individual’s educational achievement that could affect their educational outcome if they are not offered the correct support. “Absolute poverty is characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, health and shelter”(PSE,2016), in the UK as of 2017 13 million people are living in these types of conditions, compared to 14 million people living in relative poverty(Joseph Rowntree Foundation,2017). Relative poverty is the condition in which individuals cannot afford the minimum amount of income needed in order to maintain the average standard of living in society in the public area that they live in. (JRF,2018)

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In the UK over 14 million people, around one in five the UK population are living in poverty according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2017). Parents who live in poverty compared to affluent parents are considered to be facing an array of further issues, not just material deprivation. This can affect parenting and consequently have negative impact on their Childs education. According to Joseph Rowntree foundation (JRF) “These include low levels of education, few qualifications, lack of access to jobs and services, isolation, mental and physical ill health and domestic violence”. (JRF,2007, P.1). These obstacles in a childs live can

individually or collectively can influence parenting, leading to future outcomes for children being particularly challenging in the child manner to cope. These factors can lead to the child having the inability to attend school, which in effect can affect their future aspirations and motivation. According to the Joseph Rowntree foundation (2010) “9% of the gap is explained by the apparent effects of grandparents and parent’s attitudes to education while the parents was a child”. This means that if grandparents have low motivation this will slowly condescends down to their grandchild this is due to family traits through the generations. Alternatively, if a parent holds high expectations for their children’s learning and have the belief in their child’s competence, to expose them to new experience and encourage curiosity. (CEPP1), the child has an increased chance of gaining the grades that they aspire to achieve as the have social support and guidance off their parents.

However, it is evident that a child’s equality of education is down to their parents this is due to parents have control in where their child attends school to extent and the quality of education they receive as it is about the parents taking the time to sit with their child and aid their learning, encouraging, but supporting their child when they are finding school tough. Therefore, Douglas (1964) discusses that different social classes are likely to have different impacts on a Childs educational experiences. He states that “Middle class parents tend to be more engage in their child’s learning by having regular visits to school, they are slighter in size and exert more choice in their child’s future”. This allows for parents to create a stronger relationship with their children, but to gain an understanding into the education system and how their child is progressing with in it, as this will further enhance parents knowledge to support their child in the home environment, the absence of this can put the child at a disadvantage, which contributes towards the “9% gap”, but it contributes to the explanations

for why “94 areas, under half of disadvantaged children reach a good level of development at age 5”. (Social mobility Comission,2017).

Even though, for a child to succeed they are said to need secure environment which is formed by a parent having the initial stability

Emma Smith states “There is a strong relationship, between serve child poverty and parent educational attainment. (Smith, E.2012.p.28). Therefore, on some occasions the parent may not have stability which can cause the child to be unstable this is due to conflicting factors. However, the theory of attachment by Bowlby “states that each individual has a natural inclination to maintain a strong affectionate bond to certain persons, eminence of these bonds plays an essential role in the wellbeing of the individual” Bowlby (1969;1973, P.225). Therefore, the nonappearance of specific components can foresee the progression of insecure attachment patterns. “Parents that have better psychological health and well-being normally provide their children with increased quality care”. (Belsky, 1984: Gelfand & Teti 1990). That promotes secure attachment pattern”. Therefore, this displays that a child will have the personal determination to work harder and create a better life for themselves in the future by having the motivation to succeed and reach any personal aspirations they have; thus displaying that the environment that the child perceives to live in does not affect their academic achievement when they start school or even through their educational experiences.

However, the ecological approach theory of Bronfenbrenner’s which aids to understand the development of young children and how they interact with social systems or ‘domains.

(Nucci .L.P and Turie. E, 1978). The interaction that children have between the differing systems will lead to the extent in which a child will thrive. However, there are ‘five outcomes’ for children that is known as “Every Child Matters (being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving economic well-being”). This allows for practitioners to identify the category that the child will fall into in terms of resources this indicates to practitioners the support that the child may need. Bronfenbrenner’s theory does not just focus on poverty and factors within it such as material deprivation and poor housing. Bronfenbrenner’s work focuses on how a child interacts with their surroundings such as the wider community, neighbours as children while in education socialise with other children. Therefore, if a child is from a deprived area they are not going to have the same opportunities outside of school compared to more affluent families. Even though his theory does not focus on defining poverty and material deprivation, it allows for children in lower income backgrounds to have equal opportunities as other children, to attend extracurricular activities or school trips the child is required to attend. Otherwise, this can cause a child to miss on learning opportunities as children learn from sharing experiences and attending nursery and school. However, it will be made aware to a child if they come from a deprived background as if friends go back to each other’s houses this will be evident.

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Contrasting components, for example, etymological codes can influence a child’s language they will get, as dialect isn’t only an essential device for speaking with peers and communicating our thoughts. However, is a crucial quality of social repayment and strengthening both for the individual and gathering. In this manner, the manner by which we utilize dialect can significantly affect a child’s education. Bernstein (1971:1973) recommended that there are two varying codes in linguistics. These are known as the restricted codes which comprises of short basic sentences, this code gives an essential portrayal and depends on an inferred comprehension of the zone of discussion by all included who make suppositions that are not verbalised. It relies on other forms of communication and not just speaking, these are facial expressions and hand gestures this form of language is commonly used within in primary schools and text books, therefore the children that are used to hearing this type of language can normally tell the difference between the two types of linguistic codes allowing for the individual to have more success in the education system. Whereas the individuals that don’t understand it are more likely to be labelled as the less able pupils. Bernstein suggested “that working-class children were not familiar with or using the elaborate code in their daily lives and so were at a disadvantage when they entered the formal learning environment of the primary school. However, “Labov (1973) stated that working class language codes aren’t inferior, they are just as complex but differ from middle class speech. Therefore, children are not disadvantaged in learning.”

Educational achievement can be affected by labels. Labelling normally occurs between ethnic minority groups such as Asian and Black groups, they are labelled as being the more challenging in school settings. Labelling is the theory of how self- identity and behaviours of individuals may be pre- determined of judge on factors such as their name, race or gender.(Solomon, 2015) However, this can have an adverse effect on the individuals due to lack of self-confidence which can result in a lack of motivation which is known as ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ as if a teacher labels a pupil bright then the pupil will internalise the label, therefore this will lead to the individual becoming more engage and enthusiast about their learning. on the other hand, if a teacher labels a child as thick this can cause a child to become disengaged and a lack achievement will happen this could affect how a child views themselves but their motivation. However, children that are looked after have the negative label that they will not achieve, this therefore is what a teacher believes about a pupil this is known as self-fulfilling prophecy, this can affect a child’s attainment and development with in school due to the child’s self believe and confidence being affected which will create a barrier to stop them from achieving. However, in state funded primary schools across the UK free schools’ meals have been implemented on the 17th September 2013, to alleviate financial pressure off parents. However, around 200,000 pupils entitled to FSM are not claiming them” this is due to the fear of stigmatisation and the labelling that is classed with free schools’ meals therefore children across the UK are not claiming their entitlement. (DFE,2012) this is due to the labelling that occurs in society and the negative connotations.

In conclusion it is evident that poverty and the environment have a strong correlation,

between serve child poverty and parent educational attainment (Smith, E.2012.p.28).From researching into differing factors such as social class and gender that can affect a Childs attainment. Labelling by practitioners has a drastic impact on a Childs educational achievement. However, if there are theories and perspectives that may disagree with labelling being a contributing factor towards underachievement for certain groups. Therefore this means that the education system is not achieving social justice this is because there is still as a gap in achievement in schools. However, this still is an issue and therefore, children from deprived backgrounds and different socio-economic groups are not being given equitable treatment in education which is affecting their opportunities this can affect the individual in the future but cause implications for them.


         GOV UK (2018) Multi-million-pound fund to support disadvantaged children in the early years (online). (27, November 2018). Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/multi-million-pound-fund-to-support-disadvantaged-children-in-the-early-years


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