Mitigating against the impact of poverty must, for all, be a year-round pursuit. Sadly, Inverclyde Council is currently the only local authority in Scotland providing universal free school meals to all pupils in primary 1-7, as the cost-of-living crisis pushes more and more families into financial despair.
This year, Challenge Poverty Week, which takes place between 2nd – 8th October, happens in the context of yet another disappointing and unnecessary delay by the Scottish Government to the roll-out of free school meals to P6 and P7. Despite communicating commitment to tackling child poverty, these shameful delays continue to seriously impact over one in four children in Scotland who live in poverty.
Whilst the Scottish Government continues to delay, failing all children who go without adequate nourishment in our schools, challenging poverty remains an everyday commitment for teachers.
Claire Robertson – EIS Equality Committee Vice-Convener and EIS PACTivist encourages members to get involved in the anti- poverty agenda.
Today’s economic models have concentrated power in the hands of a few, at the expense of the world’s poorest and most marginalised. They have exacerbated a climate crisis that is destroying millions of lives and livelihoods. Our politicians, and their policies, have sustained multiple and interlinked forms of inequality that are the root cause of poverty and injustice.
One in four children live in poverty in Scotland. This pervasive and shameful issue continues to blight the lives of our pupils and causes irreparable damage to our society.
If you believe that no-one should be discriminated against or live in poverty and you want to help create a just and sustainable world in which everyone can safely speak truth to power, claim their human rights, and build a better future for themselves, then taking part in Challenge Poverty Week adds to the call for system change in the UK to address the root causes of poverty. It allows us to raise our voices against poverty and to highlight this injustice in Scotland and to show that collective action based on justice and compassion can create solutions.
To take part in Challenge Poverty Week, members may wish to consult the following:
- EIS offers a range of resources and guidance on child poverty: www.eis.org.uk/campaigns/child-poverty
- EIS PACT CLPL resources on poverty are available here: www.eis.org.uk/professional-learning/pact
- The Poverty Alliance has developed lesson plans for Primary 1-7, Secondary and Colleges, which can be found here: www.challengepoverty.net/lesson-plans/
- Follow the STUC Women’s Committee Campaign for Free School Meals: food4thought.uk