In a new initiative and in partnership with Surrey Square, Kineara is taking an active stance in helping parents with housing issues that are impacting the lives of its students and their families. With approximately 30% of Surrey Square School’s pupils residing in temporary accommodation, there is urgent need to address the vital link between poor housing and worsened educational outcomes. 

Housing and Education

The link between housing stability and educational success is well-documented. Children experiencing living conditions that are insecure, unpredictable, far from school or lacking in adequate facilities often face numerous challenges that can hinder their learning and development.

Poor housing conditions such as those that are damp or overcrowded can also have a profound impact on the physical and mental health of children, further disrupting their ability to engage in school activities and maintain consistent attendance.

The cost of housing also contributes to food poverty meaning many children turn up to school hungry and not in a good physical or mental position to learn or concentrate.

The situations I have witnessed at the school highlight the immense stress and burden faced by parents and guardians. There is a prevailing sense of guilt due to the crisis they are navigating, and it is evident how this stress affects their children, who become hostages to their parents’ struggles. This impact extends to both the children’s well-being and their academic achievements.

– Queenie Rushton, Housing Support Practitioner, Kineara

Addressing Housing Issues 

For these reasons, the drop-in surgery at Surrey Square Primary School aims to provide much-needed housing advice to parents and carers who are struggling with housing issues. Kineara will be supporting parents and carers experiencing problems with temporary accommodation, private renting, as well as providing advice on connecting with Southwark council, mediating with private landlords, providing direct support, and signposting for support with the interrelated issues of physical and mental health, employment, and financial concerns.    

At Surrey Square Primary School, we have a long history of carrying out meaningful and impactful family work, including supporting many families whose housing conditions fall well below expected and acceptable standardsWe have therefore been delighted to pilot this project in collaboration with colleagues at Kineara, and have welcomed their expertise and detailed case-work for our most vulnerable families. We have already seen the positive impact of this and are keen to continue seeing the fruits of this partnership

 – Fiona Carrick-Davies, Family & Community Co-ordinator 

By addressing housing issues head-on, Surrey Square Primary School is taking a proactive approach to tackle the cycle of disadvantage that many of its students face. This support can empower families to make informed decisions and improve their living conditions. 

Commenting on the new partnership, Kineara’s founder Maria Morgan said:

We are hopeful that this model will demonstrate and reinforce the value of connecting with and supporting people in the very places where the effects of housing inequality are evidenced. All too often we hear about teachers having to act as housing workers for their student’s families, because the housing emergency is so desperate.

By addressing one of the root causes of educational disparities and actively supporting families dealing with housing challenges, support like this, if extended into other educational environments, could allow teachers to focus on teaching. This emergency is detrimentally impacting everyone across the education system -parents, teachers, and most sadly, children who all deserve the foundation of a stable home.

The connection between housing, health, and educational outcomes is undeniable. This initiative underscores the importance of holistic approaches to education and serves as an inspiration for other schools to follow suit. 

Kineara hopes to work with more schools, by offering housing advice to families facing housing insecurity.