Preventing poor children becoming poor adults

3 December 2010

A new strategy to meet the Government’s target of abolishing child poverty is detailed in a report that draws heavily on evidence from the Millennium, 1970 and 1958 cohort studies, including specially commissioned analysis.

The Foundation Years: preventing poor children becoming poor adults is published by the Independent Review on Poverty and Life Chances and reports on the review conducted by Frank Field.

The aim of the review was to:

  • generate a broader debate about the nature and extent of poverty in the UK;
  • examine the case for reforms to poverty measures, in particular for the inclusion of non-financial elements;
  • explore how a child’s home environment affects their chances of being ready to take full advantage of their schooling; and
  • recommend potential action by government and other institutions to reduce poverty and enhance life chances for the least advantaged, consistent with the Government’s fiscal strategy.

There are two overarching recommendations.

  • To prevent poor children from becoming poor adults the Review proposes establishing a set of Life Chances Indicators that measure how successful we are as a country in making more equal life’s outcomes for all children. Nothing can be achieved without working with parents. All our recommendations are about enabling parents to achieve the aspirations that they have for their children.
  • To drive this policy the Review proposes establishing the ‘Foundation Years’ covering the period from the womb to five. The Foundation Years should become the first pillar of a new tripartite education system: the Foundation Years leading to school years leading to further, higher and continuing education.

The report is available at:

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