Record linkage highlights the impact of homelessness on education

Addressing homelessness is a strategic priority for the Welsh Government, with the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 ushering in new duties on local authorities to take reasonable steps to assist all homeless households and to try and prevent homelessness where possible. Moreover, the First Minister has stated the intention to end youth homelessness within a decade. Though there exists some scant research in UK that demonstrates the prevalence of low or no educational qualifications and high exclusions amongst those who have experienced homelessness, there is limited evidence estimating the impacts of homelessness on schooling. 

This project investigates the links between homelessness and different aspects of schooling, specifically education attainment, absenteeism, and exclusions. Findings from this project will help generate evidence on the impacts of homelessness on school, to inform efforts in Wales to end youth homelessness.

Key questions

  • During periods of homelessness, does disengagement from schooling increase, specifically in areas of attendance and exclusions?
  • Does education attainment differ between homeless young people and the (housed) general population?

The data

The project will start with analysing GP registration data to identify children and young people living in households who have sought housing assistance from Swansea Local Authority housing services. Once identified, children and young people will be anonymously linked to education attainment and absences/exclusions data, for the period of compulsory schooling, i.e. Key Stage1/Foundation Phase up to and including Key Stage 4 (GCSEs). 

Project leads

Dr Ian Thomas & Dr Peter Mackie, Cardiff University (ADR Wales).

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