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Child Education

Every child has the right to learn

Our child education programmes reached 8.4 million children in 2023.

Millions of children never see inside a classroom. Others drop out due to overcrowding, conflict, or simply because they're a girl.

Here in the UK, the poorest children do less well than wealthier classmates - and low literacy is linked to low pay and unemployment.

A lot can get in the way of education. But from Leeds to Liberia, a love of learning is universal. Children know it's key to a world of possibilities.

We ensure children keep learning no matter what. Whether recovering from natural disasters, facing violence, or at risk of child marriage.

And in the UK, we're improving early years learning and keeping childcare costs on the political agenda.

How we're helping Ghinwa

Ghinwa doing her homework

Ghinwa*, 13, with her Child Rights & Governance group in a refugee settlement in Beirut, Lebanon

“It’s changed my whole life.”

Ghinwa’s* story is a remarkable journey from despair to confidence and hope.

Eight years ago she and her family fled the war in Syria and now live in a refugee camp in Lebanon. After her father suffered a severe stroke, Ghinwa has to help support her family by selling packs of tissues at a busy Beirut junction. Unable to go to school, Ghinwa was left feeling hopeless about her future.

Then came a turning point. Ghinwa heard about an education centre we run in the camp and decided to try it out. She says it’s “changed my whole life”. She’s learned to read and write, made friends, grown in confidence, and even spoken online at an international conference about child refugees. Her dream is to become a lawyer and defend children’s rights.

You can read Ghinwa's full story here

*Name changed

  • 124m children/young people have not started school or dropped out
  • Over a quarter of a billion children are out of school
  • 420m children will not learn the most basic skills.
  • All children in Gaza have lost access to education
  • 23% fail to reach expected levels of language development by 5
  • 1 in 3 children living in poverty fall behind with their education
  • 27% of children from poor families get 5+ good GCSE passes, compared to 55% of peers from wealthier families.

Here's a few of the things we're doing;

  • Child refugees: Working with the UNCHR & Pearson to shine a light on efforts to provide education
  • Families Connect:  Building on feedback from parents looking for support in literacy/language development, numeracy & emotional development
  • Girls’ education: Giving thousands of girls the support they need to stay in education in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mozambique and the DRC.
  • Gaza: as soon as the conditions exist for a safe and meaningful response, we're ready to scale up our activities further in Gaza, including setting up temporary learning spaces and repairing damaged schools
  • Philippines: Giving parents the knowledge, skills & resources they need to support their child's early learning and development
  • Rwanda: Increasing the number of quality children’s books, starting reading clubs & supporting parents and teachers
  • Syria: Keeping children safe by helping them return to learning
  • UK: Putting childcare costs high on the political agenda & shining a light on the importance of a skilled early education workforce.

Related reports and blogs

Save our Education: Protect every child’s right to learn in the COVID-19 response and recovery
We are facing an education emergency. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1.6 billion learners were out of school. For the first time in human history, an entire global generation has had their education disrupted.

Time to Act: Providing refugee children the education they were promised
This report shows that it is well within our means to provide a quality education to every last refugee child - by including refugees in national education systems, improving the quality of education for refugees and host community children and by allocating modest additional financing shown through our costings.

Lessons in Literacy: 8 principles to ensure every last child can read
Drawing on evidence from 35 programmes in 22 countries, this report sets out 8 principles for effective literacy action.

Read our blog: Close the financial gap to prevent irreversible impacts of lost learning

Help to make lasting change for children