Thursday, 30 June 2011

Young people and homelessness

Latest government figures show a record rise in the number of homeless young people in England – up 15% since last year. Last Friday’s TES magazine contained a disturbing but important item about the issue. Nowhere to call home explores the plight of young people ejected from their homes by parents or step-parents. Many resort to sleeping rough or sofa-surfing. All suffer mentally, emotionally and academically. Schools frequently fail to spot that students no longer have a home of their own, and may not react appropriately even once they know. The article provides hints for recognising the signs and ways to act on them. (As some people may remember, at least one school is fully clued up about this growing problem, and determined to alleviate its impact. Quintin Kynaston School in London is fund-raising for a hostel for its homeless students. You can read a Guardian article from last December about this here.)

The TES piece refers to Shelter’s resource pack for teachers. Their Good practice briefing: Engaging with homeless children is very valuable, and not just for educationalists. It is well worth looking at Shelter’s other good practice guides and briefings too. The Centrepoint website is also extremely informative.