There has been a profound shift in the pattern of child poverty towards Britain’s periphery. As a result, while coastal communities potentially offer children a wealth of opportunities for life-enhancing and resilience-building activities, many children who grow up in them have limited access to these resources.
Education and employment
One key problem is a lack of educational capital, low levels of aspiration and poor educational attainment. Children living in coastal communities have, on average, lower GCSE grades. The attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children is most pronounced in coastal communities. Rates of participation in higher education are also significantly lower than in non-coastal areas. Several factors are at play. Many coastal communities have much higher than average proportions of working age adults with low or no qualifications. Families' knowledge, information and experience of schooling all play an important role shaping children's own aspirations and expectations. The limited range of employment opportunities available to children growing up in economically marginal coastal areas distant from large urban centres also has adverse socio-psychological consequences. Dr Rowena Passy has explored the role that coastal academies can play in challenging schools' culture of under-performance, while colleagues in the University of Plymouth’s Centre for Health Technology are exploring the role that intergenerational connections can play in reducing digital exclusion among older people while promoting greater self-esteem and self-efficacy among young people.