William Eichler 15 March 2019

Poll reveals ‘rising tide’ of pupil poverty

A shocking new survey of headteachers in England and Wales has revealed that schools have become an ‘unofficial fourth emergency service’ for poor and vulnerable children.

The survey, conducted by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), found that 96% of headteachers said the extent of pupil poverty has increased over the past few years.

It also revealed that 92% said there have been cutbacks in local authority support for vulnerable families and young people in their area over the past few years.

The poll, which was completed by 407 headteachers representing 11% of state-funded secondary schools in England and Wales, discovered that 75% of schools put on breakfast clubs and 71% provide pupils with sanitary products.

Around 91% of schools provide items of clothing for pupils suffering from high levels of disadvantage, and nearly half (47%) reported that they wash clothes for pupils.

An estimated 43% provide food banks or food parcels for pupils and families.

‘A decade of austerity has wreaked havoc with the social fabric of the nation and schools have been left to pick up the pieces while coping with real-term funding cuts,’ said Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL.

‘They have become an unofficial fourth emergency service for poor and vulnerable children, providing food and clothing and filling in the gaps left by cut backs to local services.’

Nearly all (98%) of the schools that took part in the survey said they had experienced difficulty in accessing local mental health services for pupils who need specialist treatment – with most attributing this difficulty to a combination of service cut backs and increased demand.

All but two of the respondents reported increased demand for in-school mental health support, with commonly cited reasons being the pressures associated with social media, poverty, cuts to local services, and exams.

‘Politicians must end their fixation with Brexit and work together to build a new sense of social mission in our country,’ said Mr Barton.

‘We simply must do better for struggling families and invest properly in our schools, colleges and other vital public services.’

Skate parks are not the only fruit image

Skate parks are not the only fruit

On Go Skateboarding Day, Susannah Walker asks councils and their leisure and park departments to think differently about what facilities they provide for teenagers.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker - Adult Social Care (CLDT)

Bolton Council
£31,895
This is a permanent Social Work role in Adult Social Care. Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

Principal Programme Officer

Bolton Council
£35,336
Do you enjoy variety and change? Can you keep your eye on the detail whilst also thinking strategically? Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

IDT Junior Developer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£28,226 - £30,095
Telford & Wrekin Council are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated Junior Developer. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Activities Leader (Outdoor Adventurous Activities)

Leicestershire County Council
£20,856
Lead activities and ensure that delivery of programmes are of a high standard. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Transition Support Worker (Complex Needs)

Leicestershire County Council
£19,701
This is an exciting opportunity for to work with an experienced team delivering high quality learning opportunities and care. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.