Half of teach­ers pro­vide for poor­est pupils

● Teach­ers stepping in to help chil­dren as poverty bites

The Scotsman - - Front Page - By SHÂN ROSS shan.ross@scots­man.com

Teach­ers are per­son­ally pro­vid­ing food, school uni­forms and spend­ing money for school trips, for chil­dren liv­ing in poverty a sur­vey by Scot­land’s big­gest teach­ing union has re­vealed.

The re­sults, based on replies from Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute of Scot­land mem­bers, found 51 per cent of teach­ers said they or col­leagues had taken steps to help poorer pupils while 49 per cent said their school had stepped in.

Sev­enty-two per cent re­ported a rise in pupils with­out sta­tionery, school bags and PE kits. More than half re­ported a rise in pupils com­ing to school with­out snacks or money for the tuck shop.

Teach­ers are per­son­ally pro­vid­ing food, school uni­forms and spend­ing money for school trips, for chil­dren liv­ing in poverty a sur­vey by Scot­land’s big­gest teach­ing union has re­vealed.

The re­sults, re­leased to­day based on replies from Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute of Scot­land (EIS) mem­bers, found 51 per cent of teach­ers said they or col­leagues had taken steps to help less-af­flu­ent pupils while 49 per cent said their school had stepped in.

A to­tal of 77 per cent of the 288 of people sur­veyed said they had seen in­creased signs of poverty-re­lated men­tal ill­health while 56 per cent saw a rise in phys­i­cal symp­toms such as headaches, lethargy and un­healthy pal­lor.

Sev­enty-two per cent re­ported an in­crease in the num­ber of pupils with­out sta­tionery, school bags and PE kits.

More than half (53 per cent) also re­ported an in­crease in chil­dren com­ing to school with­out snacks or money for the tuck shop.

And 46 per­cent said they had seen an rise in the num­ber of pupils un­able to com­plete home­work re­quir­ing com­puter ac­cess at home.

An­drea Bradley, the EIS as­sis­tant sec­re­tary for ed­u­ca­tion and equal­ity, said the re­sults high­lighted how low­in­come poverty “sig­nif­i­cantly blights” the ed­u­ca­tional expe- ri­ence of 260,000 chil­dren and young people liv­ing in poverty in Scot­land.

Ms Bradley said: “To the EIS, it is an out­rage that over a quar­ter of the coun­try’s school-aged young people whose fam­i­lies are strug­gling on low in­come, are pre­vented from ben­e­fit­ing, on an equal foot­ing to the rest of their peers, from the many op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. Ur­gent and de­ci­sive ac­tion at all lev­els of govern­ment is es­sen­tial to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age. Chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion and life chances can­not con­tinue to be sac­ri­ficed in the name of aus­ter­ity.”

A Scot­tish Govern­ment spokes­woman said: “It is deeply wor­ry­ing the im­pact of these po­lices is be­ing in­creas­ingly seen by teach­ers and is one rea­son why we are de­liv­er­ing an ad­di­tional £120 mil­lion into the hands of schools as part of a £750m to­tal to help tackle the at­tain­ment gap.

“De­spite cuts to our bud­get, we are mit­i­gat­ing the ef­fect of wel­fare cuts wher­ever we can.

“This help to­tals over £350m in wel­fare mit­i­ga­tion to try to pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble from the UK govern­ment’s aus­ter­ity agenda and wel­fare cuts.

“What’s more, the Child Poverty Bill will see Scot­land be­come the only part of the UK to pro­pose statu­tory tar­gets in a bid to re­duce the num­ber of chil­dren ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of poverty by 2030.”

0 Teach­ers re­port a grow­ing prob­lem of poverty af­fect­ing Scots pupils

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