17 Jun 2014

The first ever Children’s Commission on Poverty, supported by The Children’s Society, today launched a call for children, teachers and other school staff to give evidence on the problems children in poverty face in school.

The call for written evidence is part of The Children’s Commission on Poverty’s first inquiry into the subject.

With many families struggling to bear the costs of such school essentials as lunches, uniforms, text books and access to computers, the inquiry will focus on the impact this has on children at school.

The Children’s Commission on Poverty is a unique opportunity for children to join forces and closely examine for themselves, the stark realities facing children living under the poverty line. It comprises a panel of 15 children and teenagers from across England, ranging in age from 12 to 19, that will lead the Commission’s 18-month investigation into child poverty in the UK.

Platform for children to speak

The independent Commission will provide a crucial platform for children to speak out about what poverty is really like and reveal, through their own eyes, the day-to-day challenges they face and what needs to be done.

The proportion of children in poverty in the UK has nearly doubled in the last 30 years. Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families.

'We are holding an inquiry to try and find out the cost of things at school and the reasons for this. We want to achieve changes to help children living in poverty. So we invite you to tell us what you think and see in order to help us make changes.”, Cyrus, a young commissioner, aged 14, said.

Tackling child poverty

'Children’s views have been largely absent from the poverty debate. If the huge problem of child poverty in this country is to be tackled once and for all, we need to see what school looks like through children’s own eyes," Lily Caprani, Director of Strategy and Impact at The Children’s Society said.'

The Commission will be investigating the financial and emotional effects that the cost of these fundamental aspects of school life have on children and young people. This includes the extent to which children and young people in poverty are – or feel – excluded from important areas of school life as well as how they are treated by fellow pupils, teachers and other school staff.

You can submit your evidence via our online form via the Commission's website or by email.   Alternatively, you can post your form to:

The Children’s Commission on Poverty
c/o Jake McLeod
The Children's Society
Edward Rudolf House
Margery Street
London, WC1X 0JL

The deadline for submitting evidence is 5pm on Monday 28 July. For full instructions see the Commission's website.

The evidence will be analysed by the young commissioners, who will publish their findings and recommendations this autumn. 

Media enquiries

For more information, please contact The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or by email. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • The Children’s Commission on Poverty will hold its oral evidence sessions on school costs on 14, 16 and 17 July in the House of Commons.
  • According to the latest official statistics, there are 3.5 million children in poverty. Figures are according to the relative low income measure, and are based on income after housing costs.
  • From this September, the government will introduce free school meals for all infant school children, meaning 200,000 more children in poverty will get this key support. It is vital this key support is extended to the 500,000 school children living in poverty who will continue to miss out. 
  • The Children’s Society is supporting the first-ever Children’s Commission on Poverty. The commissioners want the government to draw on children’s actual experience – and not just the statistics — when developing measures to tackle child poverty. The Children’s Commission on Poverty is being supported by The Children’s Society and led by a panel of 16 children and teenagers from across England, ranging in age from 12 to 19. They are leading an 18-month investigation into child poverty in the UK. It provides a crucial platform for children to speak out about what poverty is really like and reveal, through their own eyes, the day-to-day challenges they face and what needs to be done. 
  • By 2020, an estimated three quarters of a million more children will be living in poverty than today.
  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life. Someone who acts on their behalf and can help guide them through the extremely complex system. These children deserve to be kept safe so they can recover from the trauma they have suffered and rebuild their lives.