Interrogating the relationship between poverty, attainment and mental health and wellbeing : the importance of social networks and support - a Scottish case study

Mowat, Joan G. (2020) Interrogating the relationship between poverty, attainment and mental health and wellbeing : the importance of social networks and support - a Scottish case study. Cambridge Journal of Education, 50 (3). pp. 345-370. ISSN 0305-764X

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    Abstract

    The poverty-related attainment gap is an internationally recognised problem. It resides within a culture of performativity in which international comparators, underpinned by neo-liberal ideology, drive national policy. This conceptual paper interrogates the relationship between poverty, attainment and children’s mental health and wellbeing to inform public policy and practice in Scotland and beyond. A key theme identified from the analysis of the literature is the nature, quality and strength of social and support networks around schools, families and children. This is contextualised within a discussion of the nature of childhood poverty and mental health in children in Scotland and the response of the Scottish Government. A focus on educational policy and schools alone will not in itself address the poverty-related attainment gap. What is required is a holistic focus on public policy, informed by interdisciplinary research, and a focus on building a strong infrastructure of support around schools, families and communities.