Posted: 07 November 2014

'If a child is hungry it can affect their education'

This blog was written as part of The Children's Commission on Poverty. The commission was led by sixteen children aged 10-19 to uncover the true cost of school life for those living in poverty, through young eyes. Luke was one of the commissioners who launched the report 'At what cost? Exposing the true cost of school'. 

I have been a Young Commissioner since July 2013. I became part of the commission to share my experience of child poverty and to help other young people who are experiencing what I experienced. Hopefully my views and opinions will help make a change in the UK.

We investigated schooling because we decided as a group that school is a big part of childhood, and so we felt that it would be good to investigate how poverty affects a child’s education. We wanted to know: can these children afford the materials they need? Can they afford a school uniform? Do they feel comfortable having free school meals? 

For example, we felt as a group that children should be able to claim free school meals without anybody else knowing. This is to make sure that they do not feel embarrassed, as perhaps they don’t want to claim because they feel like they may get bullied. We thought that if a child was hungry in school it would affect their education which could affect their grades. This could jeopardise their future; getting them in a cycle of not being able to get out of poverty. 

I think that every child who is entitled to a free school meal should be able to claim their meal without being embarrassed. More should be done to get rid of the stigma attached to claiming free school meals.

Launch at the Houses of Parliament 

I would say my highlight of the experience so far was the launch of the commission, where we met with MPs and other individuals in the Houses of Parliament. I enjoyed the launch because it was good to hear that MPs were taking child poverty seriously as a big issue in the UK. I had never been to the Houses of Parliament before so this was a great experience. 

Now that we have completed the research for the inquiry, we are launching our findings and recommendations about making things better for children in poverty in schools. I think our recommendations are really good, and I think they have the potential to change the lives of children in poverty for the better. I hope MPs, Lords and stakeholders will use their influence in society to eradicate the great injustice of child poverty, which shouldn’t exist in 21st Century Britain. 

Children are the gateway to a society being successful in the future. If children are given equal opportunities then this will surely benefit the country, as opposed to a child failing in school because of poverty, and therefore not realising their dreams. 

The Commission has been a real insight into how poverty could be so easily overcome if it was at the top of the agenda. 

Read the Report

By Luke - Guest bloggers