Inequality: A barrier to life-changing education

We know of the transformative potential of education to help children overcome socio-economic disadvantage. But what happens when children face barriers to education itself?

Through no fault of their own, thousands of children across Australia are currently facing barriers to quality, life-changing education, including:

Unemployment and financial stress
Not having a stable income can directly impact a child’s education if their family is unable to afford resources needed for their education, including (but not limited to) school supplies, uniforms or even internet connection. Families experiencing financial stress often can’t afford additional educational support for their child if needed, such as private tutoring, Occupational Therapy or other support. Children may miss out on rich learning experiences gained through school outings.

In addition, poverty is a massive issue in Australia. According to the ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Service) and UNSW Poverty in Australia 2020 report, 774,000 children (17.7 per cent of all children in Australia) live below the poverty line. The statistics are shocking, and show just part of the large number of children who face financial barriers to education.

Language barriers
Language barriers (for the student or for the student’s parents) can impact a child’s education if there are challenges with communicating with the school or teacher. Parents or guardians with language barriers may also lack confidence to be able to effectively help and support their child with homework. Children’s own confidence can also suffer and can be a barrier to class participation and engagement in learning.

Domestic violence or trauma
A child living in a traumatic environment, or one impacted by domestic violence or drugs and alcohol abuse, will likely not have a stable or predictable home environment for supportive learning. For children who don’t live in a safe or supportive environment, or whose family has been impacted by financial stress, trauma or one of the other many barriers to education, the priority of education can easily fall through the gaps. In fact, one in three children in Australia’s most disadvantaged communities start school developmentally vulnerable, which is why educational programs for children in disadvantaged communities are so vital.

If you’d like to make a difference, your gift today can help us give more vulnerable children access to quality education and support.