There is much concern worldwide about the widening gap in terms of wealth and its relationship to educational outcomes for children, especially the vulnerable, for it is the marginalised who are not having access to education or success in education. There have been many radical changes in ideology and policy in education in the last two decades. This chapter examines who the vulnerable children are in our societies and schools and how their position has changed. The role of education and its contribution to the development and thriving of vulnerable young people is explored, and this includes the implications for classrooms. The general points are illustrated with two case studies of particular groups in two different settings in the final part of the chapter, i.e. the excluded in the UK and children living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Many researchers in this field argue for a new way of thinking and a new focus of schooling based on relationships and connectedness. This argument is supported and examined in the final part of the paper. The research and scholarship drawn on is largely from the global north and so cannot claim to be representing all societies, although international literature is referred to.

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