Action for Children: breaking down barriers to education

Action for Children supports disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. Kate Mulley, Director of Policy & Campaigns for Action for Children, tells us about the Education Fund and how it’s increasing social mobility.

What is the Education Fund?

Action for Children’s Education Fund provides vital grants for disadvantaged children and families to cover the cost of essential educational materials.

Why do we need it?

Education is vital, ensuring that children and young people have the future life chances they deserve. But, financial struggles can severely affect children’s access to education. With more than one in four children in the UK living in poverty, their families struggle to afford core materials like books, uniforms and school shoes. By supporting our Education Fund, Turner & Townsend is making sure the most disadvantaged children and their families get the support they desperately need.

What overall impact is the fund making?

Together, we aim to support at least 810 disadvantaged children and young people with grants to buy essential educational materials. Not having the correct equipment or school books can stop children from being able to participate fully and complete their school and homework, not having a uniform that fits, or broken school shoes, can lead to feelings of worthlessness, bullying and truancy, all negatively affecting their ability to learn and achieve their potential.

By supporting struggling families to buy vital educational items, together with Turner & Townsend we are breaking down barriers to education and giving children the opportunity to thrive.

How do you see the future of social mobility in the UK?

Development in the earliest years affects the rest of a child’s life, but there is a gap in early years’ child development between children from low-income families and their peers. We know that one in four children across England arrives at school not ready to learn. Children who are not achieving their potential even at this young age are more likely to experience poor health, employment and educational attainment for the rest of their lives. Action for Children is calling for the UK government to commit to doing more for children in deprived areas to close the gap in school readiness.