Rising living costs and educational challenges

Rising living costs and educational challenges

At Bridges, we are proud to support The Smith Family – a national children’s education charity with a vision of a world where every child has the opportunity to change their future, no matter their circumstances.

A recent survey by The Smith Family has revealed that cost-of-living pressures are putting children’s education at risk. Many families are finding it harder to afford school essentials, and rising costs are adding to the significant educational challenges already faced by children experiencing disadvantage.

In this survey, The Smith Family spoke to almost 2,000 parents and carers whose children they support.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of parents and carers told The Smith Family that they found it harder to afford all the things that their children needed for school this year compared to last year. More than half (52%) of respondents said this was due to increases in everyday expenses like groceries, rent and petrol.

One respondent said, “Starting high school is hard anyway. But to get our girl to her additional needs school we drive 45 mins each way. Petrol prices are taking most of our cash, after rent.”

More than one-third of respondents (38%) also said that school has been hard or very hard for their children this year. The main reasons cited for this were academic struggles, low motivation for school, and other social issues. Disruptions caused by COVID, disability and medical issues, and financial pressures also had an impact.

The Smith Family will repeat this survey annually, to obtain necessary information from families about their changing circumstances and issues affecting their children’s education.

Looking towards 2023, survey respondents had a number of hopes for their children’s education – in particular, for their children to improve in their learning and do well at school, and have the opportunities and support they need to achieve their goals and follow their dreams.

The Smith Family’s CEO, Doug Taylor, said “Every parent wants to see their child thriving and doing their best at school, but children growing up in disadvantage face daily challenges that can prevent them achieving all they’re capable of. Supporting children to make the most of educational opportunities now helps them build the skills they need for a better future. When children have the support they need to learn today, they can change their tomorrow.”

To find out more about The Smith Family’s learning and mentoring programs go to thesmithfamily.com.au.