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Sioned Hughes Geraint Davies

Abstract

With a third of all pupils in Wales in poverty it is essential that trainee teachers in the principality understand the nature of poverty and develop a practical understanding of how best to deal with its negative effects. In order to explore trainee teachers’ perceptions of these issues a detailed questionnaire was completed by 94 of the 96 third year trainee teachers on a BA in Primary Education with QTS programme at a university in Wales. The data revealed a mature understanding of the main issues. Childhood poverty was seen by the respondents as a state of material, educational and emotional deprivation which prevents children and young people from developing their potential as individuals and from developing into fully active members of society. The respondents felt that schools had a central role to play in tackling the negative effects of poverty and that there were a range of positive measures that all schools needed to take in order to achieve this. The data also revealed that there were some practical areas related to combating childhood poverty which the respondents were yet to gain full confidence in tackling. The survey has significant implications for all those concerned with childhood poverty and initial teacher education in Wales and beyond.

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