New briefing paper on the ‘poverty of aspiration’ myth

Date: 31st January 2018
Category: Child poverty

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships has published a paper which uses data from the Growing Up in Scotland survey to dispel the myth of the 'poverty of aspiration.'

The briefing defines the 'poverty of aspiration' as when children's less successful progress in education is blamed on their, or their parents', poor aspiration. However, the briefing emphasises that this allows for responsibility for achievement to be transferred from governments and schools to parents and children.

By using survey data from Growing Up in Scotland, the briefing argues that all parents want is what best for their child, but lower income parents are less likely to know what is possible or how to achieve this.

The briefing highlights the policy implications of this research including:

  • Policy will be strengthened if policy makers have a more sophisticated understanding of how their own views of aspirations and those of others are shaped by their socio-economic circumstances.
  • It is important to promote policies which open up knowledge of the whole range of opportunities available to parents and children in poverty including routes into higher education.
  • Parents and children need knowledge of both the opportunities and the route to achieving their aspirations.
  • Read the full briefing here.