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Schools Can't Do It Alone

Did you know that the richest 10% of households in the country hold 45% of our country’s wealth? And that our poorest 50% of households hold just 8.7% of the country’s wealth? We also know that there are huge gaps in earnings with the top 10% of earners netting over nine times the income of the poorest 10%. [Equalitytrust.org.uk]

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What does this mean? It means we live in an unequal society. And nowhere is that inequality felt more harshly than in London. And in Oval and Princes wards in North Lambeth (NoLa) we have some of the worst inequalities in Lambeth.

So these statistics are stark. The reality of life for our families and children on the losing end is even starker. And for the children and young people of North Lambeth, just as with their counterparts in other areas of the country, inequality is passed down from parents to children. So, if you are born into a poorer home, this will impact your own future prospects.

It cannot be right that in the 21st Century your future opportunities and outcomes are so profoundly affected by your parents’ income. When in London, we create, and are surrounded by, so much wealth and opportunity for some.

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Schools can make a significant difference to a child’s future. The Labour government from 1997 made magnificent strides in improving our country’s schools. It invested in our children and young people through Education Action Zones, Sure Start, Building Schools for the Future and London Challenge, to name just a few of our national programmes.

In Lambeth, we have gone from one of the worst, if not the worst, poorest performing education authority in 2006 to the top 10% in the country. This is a record of which Lambeth Labour is proud and acknowledges the hard work of all our schools, children and parents in achieving this.

But schools alone cannot address the inequalities of birth. From our schools’ data we know that, in line with the national experience, children and young people from Black Caribbean and Portuguese communities are not making as much progress consistently as children from other ethnic groups. And within those 2 ethnic groups, girls fare better than boys on the whole. And we know that the poorest performers overall are white British boys. So poverty continues to have a profoundly negative impact upon our children’s educational outcomes and therefore life opportunities.

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As your local labour councillors we want to address this. Head here, to read more about North Lambeth (NoLa) CLIP process. See how you can get involved and contribute your ideas for community projects that can help tackle these inequalities experienced by the young people of NoLa. No matter how small or big your idea may be, no matter how little or much time you can give, we want to hear from you. Help us to support our young people to design their futures, create opportunities and build our communities.

Claire Holland

Oval Labour Councillor & Deputy Cabinet Member for Children and Schools

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