Tell-tale signs of a poor classmate

21st September 2007 at 01:00
And there are wide regional variations in how pupils spot poverty

MISSING OUT on school trips or failing to wear a proper uniform are telltale signs to children that a classmate is poor.

More than 700 pupils were asked how they could tell if someone was needy by Dare to Care, a campaign run by the charity Community Service Volunteers and the Campaign to End Child Poverty.

The most common answers were missing out on school trips (44 per cent) and not having the right uniform (40 per cent).

The survey responses from seven to 16-year-olds also highlighted differences between regions.

In the North East, 78 per cent of pupils thought you were poor if you did not have a safe place nearby to play, but only 12 per cent of Londoners agreed with that view. Not having a mobile phone would make you appear to be poor to 47 per cent of pupils in East Anglia.

But in Yorkshire but only 3 per cent agreed with that and did not see mobile phones as a sign of being well-off. Yorkshire and the South East were the two areas where not having the right school uniform was the most commonly agreed sign of poverty.

In the South West, 50 per cent of those surveyed said poor children were not able to give a present at a friend's birthday party. But in the North West only 15 per cent thought a lack of presents was a sign of poverty.

The West Midlands was the area where not going to the cinema was most likely to be seen as a sign of poverty, 33 per cent of pupils thought this was the case, compared to only three per cent in the East Midlands. Dare to Care aims to persuade people to use their time and skills as volunteers towards improving life for deprived children.

Jason Tanner, spokesman for CSV, said: "There is a poverty of experience that children are going through. Volunteers can help by providing breakfast clubs or helping children's reading.

"We're looking to the nation to think about what skills and what time they could give and match it up with what a child could benefit from."

The survey comes after research at Cardiff University showed that not all children had the same opportunities to go on school trips.

The study found that pupils not being able to afford to go on trips was mentioned as a difficulty by more than four out of five schools.

* www.daretocare.org.uk

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