TEACHERS are increasingly seeing the devastating effects of the cost of living crisis on pupils, a survey by the NASUWT teachers’ union has revealed.
Teachers are providing money, food and clothing to help children and families dealing with the deepening cost of living crisis.
The survey also found that many teachers are routinely providing referrals to food banks as families struggle to cope with the rising costs of food, fuel and energy bills.
As pupils return to school, the survey of more than 6,500 teachers paints a disturbing picture of the crisis being experienced by children and young people in England and Wales.
Six-in-ten teachers responding to the survey said that by the end of the last academic year more pupils were coming to school hungry and nearly seven-in-ten said more of their pupils were lacking in energy and concentration.
Three-quarters said they had experienced more pupils with behaviour problems and 65% said pupils did not have the equipment they needed for their lessons.
63% said pupils were wearing dirty or damaged clothes and 67% said pupils did not have footwear that was appropriate for school.
58% of teachers said they had given food or clothing to their pupils and six in ten said they had made referrals to outside agencies, with 35% saying they had helped a pupil’s family get access to a food bank.
15% 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: ‘This is a deeply disturbing picture of the damaging impact of the cost of living crisis on children and young people the length and breadth of the country.
‘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.
‘The financial worry and anxiety that many parents are already experiencing is also being felt by children and is likely to have a negative impact on their education.
‘It’s 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.’