New numbers from the UK’s Office for National Statistics suggest that a lack of education is the most important factor holding back low-income UK citizens.
According to the report, children whose father had a low education were 7.5 times more likely to have a lower education themselves when compared to those whose fathers were highly educated. Those with a lower education were also found to be 11 times more likely to be “severely materially deprived.”
A relationship was also discovered between educational outcome and the mother’s educational status to a lesser extent, where children were 3 times more likely to have a lower educational status if the mother also had a lower level of education.
The number of people in the household, employment status of both parents and the economic status of the family also were found to play a role in a child’s educational outcome.
The report also showed similar results in other EU countries, although the results were highest in Southern Europe.
“What’s interesting about this report is where the UK parts company with other EU countries. Critically, it shows that growing up in a workless household has a much more significant impact on a child’s future earnings in the UK than in almost any other state,” Garnham said.
The report shows that poor children typically attend lower quality schools, and the parents have less access to quality childcare. Poor children also tend to live in poor quality housing, which leads to higher instances of poorer physical and mental health, including depression, which can cause parents to be less able to give their children the support they need to grow.
In addition, lower income families are less able to provide their children with computers and extra-curricular activities.
“Our research shows that poverty affects children’s education in many different ways,” said Helen Barnard, policy and research manager for poverty at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Barnard also said the study does not suggest a lack of motivation in poor families.
“But there is evidence that children and parents from poorer backgrounds develop lower expectations as children grow older – they stop believing that their children will be able to achieve high ambitions, or do not know how to help them do so,” Barnard said.
Public education in the UK is supposed to be available free of charge, but according to recently released government data, on average, parents are paying over $34,000 extra, or 21,000 pounds in property pricing to get their children into one of the top 30 school districts in the country.
Upper-class families are also able to purchase or rent a second home to get their child into the right schools, or pay for private tutors.
Conor Ryan, director of research at education charity the Sutton Trust, said: “This research confirms that access to the best state schools is too often linked to family income … where comprehensive schools prioritise proximity in admissions, they close off access to many who can’t afford the high house prices.”
An additional report released this week from Sir Michael Marmot’s Institute of Health Equity showed that children who grow up in poverty are more likely to fall behind their more affluent peers in major milestones like learning to read, write, and beginning to do math.