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Published, 11 July 2018

Children's social circumstances and educational outcomes

NHS Health Scotland has published a briefing paper which gives an understanding of how the circumstances in which children and young people are born, grow up and learn contribute to inequalities in educational outcomes.

In general, children living in poverty have lower educational outcomes compared to those from more affluent families.While these associations are not unique to the UK, differences in Scotland are marked, starting before children begin school and persisting throughout. In the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS), children from low-income families were about 13 months behind in vocabulary skills and 10 months behind in problem-solving skills at school entry compared to their more affluent peers. It's important to note that many children and young people living in disadvantaged circumstances manage to do well.

This briefing looks at the influence of family characteristics on educational outcomes and how physical and social environments can shape the educational achievements of children and young people. It looks at income, diet and nutrition, parental education, relationships, and family structure as well as housing, overcrowding and cold homes and the impact of these.

The briefing highlights some of the challenges faced by children and young people living in low-income families that potentially hinder them from making the most of the opportunities offered by the education system.

Find out about our work to improve educational outcomes.

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