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Poor Children 'Traumatised, Unkempt and Unclean'

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7:01am 10th January 2014

It is claimed some seven year old children in Cornwall are arriving at school still not toilet trained.

A report warns some pupils are arriving at class in Camborne and Redruth "unkempt and unclean."

It says the towns are a "forgotten corridor" where unemployment and domestic violence are rife and where some pupils are traumatised after witnessing physical attacks at home.

In an article for The Guardian, academic James Mumford said: "Among their parents, two major problems are unemployment and domestic violence. On some estates in both Camborne and Redruth, a third of working-age people are claiming out-of-work benefits.

"The situation here in west Cornwall is complex, with causes and consequences difficult to disentangle."

Ian Bruce speaks for local headteachers. He said: "It's not a daily occurence and we recognise there is a need in this particular area. But it's most important to recognise the positives as well. Poverty doesn't necessarily mean the children aren't loved and aren't cared for.

"The staff in the schools - you don't get a lot of movement because they are working daily to ensure those children are getting the best deal. More importantly they're working daily to ensure the families are getting a good deal and the families realise people care."

Don Gardner runs the local foodbank. He warned: "Benefit cuts, benefit delays, low wages, people who are on zero hour contracts. We're getting families in who simply can not survive on the income they're getting. We were a crisis foodbank three years ago - now we're not.

"We need a consolidated effort by the government to put some money into this, where we can feel supported and get on with the job that we're most good at - and that's helping people who are in a very serious situation."

7:01am 10th January 2014

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