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Sumdog and Wee Sleep Out 2019

Posted on 10th October 2019 by Billie Owens

by Sumdog and Wee Sleep Out

Current situation

Over one in five children live in poverty in Scotland. Being left without somewhere permanent to live can have lifelong impacts on many children and young people, with education being a primary factor affected. The environments that children are exposed to as they grow up are crucial in shaping the way they live and learn.

A child living in poverty is typically found to have a lower chance of achieving academic success. NHS research shows that a combination of physical and psychological factors associated with poverty can contribute to a widening of the attainment gap for children in Scotland.

By age 11, only around three-quarters of children from the poorest fifth of families in the UK reach the government’s expected level of education, compared to 97% of children from the richest fifth.

Sumdog and Social Bite believe that we can do better than this: we are passionate that these figures are not insurmountable and that as a nation we can make a real difference.

At Sumdog our mission is to close the poverty-related attainment gap. We operate as a social business, and are fully in support of the hugely impactful work of Social Bite. Following the success of last year’s event, Social Bite is hosting the Wee Sleep Out 2019 for 8–16 year olds across Scotland, to raise funds and awareness in the fight to end homelessness.

We think the Wee Sleep Out is a fantastic event and cause, and so for the second year running, are supporting it with a special free Scotland-wide maths contest.

Ultimately, we share a vision to improve the lives and prospects of people in Scotland, unlocking the potential of every individual. We believe this creates an exciting synergy for our two organisations.

How does poverty affect education?

Overcrowded housing, lack of heating, poor nourishment and a chaotic environment are just some of the tangible effects of poverty that can affect a child’s educational fulfilment. 

Children can also be impacted by the social environment experienced at home. Financial pressures, vulnerability and worry experienced by parents in difficult living situations may compromise emotional support for a child. For example, parents might not have time to sit and do homework with their child or make sure they’re up to date on all school work.

As a result, these physical and social factors can have a huge psychological effect on young people. Children may experience insecurity, lack of confidence or poor concentration in the classroom, manifesting itself as defensive or challenging behaviour.

A child not achieving their full potential academically puts them at a disadvantage when they become adults, as career options are often limited by the same factors that limit education. The rules of economics argue that ‘the cycle of poverty, once started, is likely to continue unless there is outside intervention.’

An unbreakable cycle?

Experts argue that providing high-quality education is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty. A person who graduates from further education statistically doubles their lifetime earnings, creating a more stable environment for their own children to receive a good education.

Research also shows that high aspirations for attainment have been reported among children across the whole spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds, which can be attributed to a range of influences, including school environment. Children and young people attending a school with a positive school climate have been found to do better than might be expected based on their socioeconomic background.

Wee Sleep Out 2019

In 2017-18, 28,792 households were assessed as homeless by their local authority, with 14,075 children within these households. This is equivalent to 38 children in Scotland becoming homeless every day.

Ending homelessness and educating Scotland’s children can pave the way for a better society, where poverty is massively reduced and young people feel more empowered to create a successful life for themselves and for their peers.

Social Bite’s Wee Sleep Out is an opportunity for young people in Scotland to enhance their classroom education and their school careers by learning about important social issues; developing enterprising skills through designing and carrying out their own sponsored events, and building confidence in themselves along the way.

Social Bite believe that in order to create lasting change, we, as a population, have to focus on and galvanise the future of Scotland: the next generation of leaders. By running Wee Sleep Outs, young people are not only learning about homelessness and the power of social enterprise, but they are helping their peers.

Sumdog and Wee Sleep Out

Our Wee Sleep Out contest is taking place between 29th November – 5th December.

As well as helping raise awareness for homelessness, the Sumdog contest is a fun way to motivate and engage pupils in maths as they compete against other classes from across the country.

Scores are based on accuracy, and questions adapt to each pupil’s level – so everyone has a fair chance.

You can enter now for the chance to win special camping prizes and the Sumdog trophy – presented by the founders of Social Bite!

For more information about how Sumdog maths contests work and why they’re a great way to motivate your pupils, click here.