Chapter five explores the importance of understanding child poverty and its relationship to children’s education. It takes a child-centred perspective to situate children in the context of their peer relationships, pupil-teacher relationships and parental relationships to explore their wellbeing and achievement at school. Education has the potential to be a vital passport for low income children, but many children are unsettled, undervalued and underachieving at school. This chapter explores the importance of education, of school social and academic life to children living in poverty, of educational transitions, of examinations and achievements, and of wellbeing, participation and inclusion at school. It looks at how school culture and the misunderstandings of teachers on the causes and consequences of poverty can present a barrier to the full participation of children living in poverty in their schooling. It also addresses the cost of a school day some of the parental factors that are suggested to influence a child’s education, such as the so-called ‘poverty of aspiration’. It concludes by looking at the policy responses of affluent societies, which aim to close the attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children, and discusses why we need to flip the thinking on education for children living in poverty.
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