More than half of teachers have given food or clothing to their pupils as families struggle to cope with the cost of living, a survey suggests.
The poll of 6,679 teachers by teachers’ union NASUWT found that teachers have also been providing referrals to foodbanks.
Six in 10 teachers responding to the survey said that by the end of the last academic year more pupils were coming to school hungry, while almost seven in 10 said more of their pupils were lacking in energy and concentration.
Regrettably, the Government has simply failed to recognise the depth, breadth and urgency of the financial difficulties that increasing numbers of families are under
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary
Three-quarters of those polled said they had experienced more pupils with behaviour problems and 65% said pupils did not have the equipment they needed for their lessons.
63% of teachers said pupils were wearing dirty or damaged clothes and 67% said pupils did not have footwear that was appropriate for school.
58% of teachers surveyed said they had given food or clothing to their pupils.
Six in 10 said they had made referrals to outside agencies, with 35% saying they had helped a pupil’s family get access to a foodbank.
The survey found that 15% of teachers had lent or given money to pupils and 24% had seen money lent or given to pupils by colleagues or their school.
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said the survey results paint a “deeply disturbing” picture of the impact the cost of living crisis is having on children.
“There can be little doubt that the cost-of-living crisis is harming pupils’ education, learning and development.
“An emergency response is needed to deliver extra help for children, schools and families.
“At a time when many teachers are already struggling financially, many have dug deep into their own pockets to provide urgent help to their pupils, in the absence of additional support from the Government.
“It is outrageous that we should be seeing more and more families who are struggling or unable to feed, clothe or keep a roof over their children’s heads,” he said.
Dr Roach said it is vital that schools and wider children’s services are funded to provide more by way of support, advice and counselling for children, parents and carers who are struggling.
“Regrettably, the Government has simply failed to recognise the depth, breadth and urgency of the financial difficulties that increasing numbers of families are under.
“It cannot be left to schools and teachers to pick up the pieces of the cost of living crisis or to provide from their own budgets financial help and assistance to families in desperate need.
“We need to see immediate action from the new prime minister to provide much more help and assistance to children and families to mitigate the dire financial crisis that millions are facing this autumn and winter,” he said.