The study, published by the National Children’s Bureau and based on the findings of an All Party Parliamentary Group for Children (APPG) inquiry, found children were suffering physical and mental health problems because of poor co-ordination of services.
The group found evidence of a gap in policy and practice within the education system, with insufficient provision made for the transition to work, or to support young people who were not in education, employment or training (NEET).
The UK was placed by UNICEF as fifth out of 29 of the world’s most advanced economies for the number of young people who are NEET.
Disadvantaged children were continuing to suffer most from the effects of the economic climate, and were living in families affected by high levels of stress, cuts to earnings and benefits, and welfare reforms.
Among the group’s recommendation was that schools should ensure they offer a range of personalised, tailored, flexible support with an appropriate focus on developing children and young people’s communication skills, with guaranteed access to PSHE.
Furthermore, a cross-government youth strategy should be established, which should be driven by the Department for Education in partnership with other government departments such as Health and Work and Pensions. Baroness Massey of Darwen, chair of the APPG, said: “It is clear from the evidence reviewed during the course of this inquiry that some children have greater life chances and access to opportunities than others.”