William Eichler 15 March 2019

Poll reveals ‘rising tide’ of pupil poverty

Poll reveals ‘rising tide’ of pupil poverty image

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.’

Basic income pilots image

Basic income pilots

Gail Irvine finds out how local government in Scotland is leading the way on basic income.
Highways jobs

Civil Enforcement Officer

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 4 - Starting at £20,415 per annum and rising to £21,777
This role will require you to assist with the safe and free flow of traffic by patrolling on foot and / or mobile controlled parking areas and issu... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Administrative Support Officer - Conservative Group

Brent Council
£29,241 - £30,711 (pro rata)
This post will provide efficient, effective and flexible support to members of the Conservative Opposition Group... Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Chair

Cornwall Investment Delivery Company
Remuneration commensurate with the challenge
We are looking for a Chair to establish the new company, oversee the development of its strategy. Truro, Cornwall
Recuriter: Cornwall Investment Delivery Company

Managing Director

Cornwall Investment Delivery Company
Remuneration commensurate with the challenge
Looking for someone with a strong development background, real commercial credentials. Truro, Cornwall
Recuriter: Cornwall Investment Delivery Company

Non-Executive Directors

Cornwall Investment Delivery Company
Remuneration commensurate with the challenge
Looking for Non-Executive Directors who will bring their commercial experience and skills to this new company’s dynamic. Truro, Cornwall
Recuriter: Cornwall Investment Delivery Company

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The December issue of Local Government News looks at the consequences a council may face if it is unable to provide statutory services, the launch of Liverpool’s housing company and how councils can best manage roles in local authority companies.

It also has a special section on green building and energy efficiency including what funding is available to enable councils to deliver heat networks and how councils can pay for ‘smart buildings’.

Register for your free magazine