POOR children are being exploited by criminal gangs because they cannot afford to go to school, a charity says.
Their families have no money to pay for food or uniforms so they skip classes.
One worker said: “Low-income families in deprived areas are so much more vulnerable to gangs grooming them into sexual exploitation, drug-dealing and transporting.”
A second added: “Teenagers have no funding for further education, therefore do not have anything to keep them busy.”
A third said: “There is a clear link between the increase in knife crime and serious youth violence and the high number of permanent school exclusions and a lack of community services for young people.”
The findings come from Buttle UK’s survey of more than 1,200 front-line support workers.
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More than half said they had seen more violent crime in the past year.
Nearly eight in ten reported parents struggling to pay for uniform or equipment, with nine in ten saying they could not afford basics such as food or fuel.
The charity took in responses from workers from 616 organisations.
The report concluded: “It is clear that a range of factors can impact experiences of education for children and young people growing up in poverty.
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“Not having access to nutritious food or a bed to sleep in means that children are too tired to concentrate in school.
“Children are prevented from attending certain schools or doing certain subjects because parents cannot afford the correct uniform and equipment.
“Cuts to funding and reductions in support for families means that children in poverty continue to face these struggles, and in some cases that lack of support around education can lead to children turning to crime.”
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