The Child Poverty Action Group said yesterday that children at the greatest risk of poverty may end up out of education, employment and training by the time they are 14.
A report by the campaign group found poverty had a profound and negative impact on child development and pre-school experiences but the education system compounded inequality in a number of ways. These included selection procedures, complex funding streams and extra costs for social, cultural and educational activities.
Chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group Kate Geen said: “The main factor behind children failing at school is economic inequality. Our school system is failing far too many children from poor families. We will not end educational failure until we end child poverty.”
The report recommends that extra-curricular activities that enhance children’s social, intellectual and emotional development should be provided free or funded by councils or schools so that every child can benefit from extended school provision.
It added that child poverty in the UK should be placed on the curriculum for all all teacher training courses.