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STUC 2013 Perth

Tackle poverty to help children's education

Susan Kennedy
Susan Kennedy

Congress condemned the inequalities in education, linked to poverty, which blight the life chances of many of Scotland’s children, and prevent them from taking up places in colleges and universities.

It threw its weight behind an EIS call for targeted spending to tackle poverty, research based anti-poverty strategies at school and Local Authority level, a programme of awareness raising for teachers on the impact of poverty on pupils and improved access to higher education.

Backing the motion, UNISON's Susan Kennedy said: "It’s obvious that a child that arrives at school hungry doesn’t have an equal opportunity to learn and develop reach their potential that their classmates have.

"It’s obvious that a child that misses lessons because free school transport has been cut back and their parents either won’t or can’t make finding the bus fare a priority, isn’t experiencing an equal chance to learn and grow.

"Congress - this motion is a recognition that what happens OUTSIDE the school has an impact on what happens INSIDE the school and shows the determination of our movement to tackle the injustice being meted out to children."

While the motion has many helpful and constructive solutions, Susan warned: "We must never forget that the best way to tackle the effects of poverty – is by tackling poverty."

Susan added: "We had some fine words from Alex Salmond yesterday and we should certainly welcome the joint statement he has published with the STUC about the role of union reps. But I have to tell the First Minister - you won’t tackle child poverty in Scotland if you allow the wages of already low paid women in Local Government, the NHS or Voluntary sector to decline further."

The motion showed that this movement cares about "inequality of opportunity where other sections of society either don’t see or don’t care that there is a problem", said Susan.

17 April 2013

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