New research reveals pupil poverty concerns

New research reveals pupil poverty concerns

A survey of more than 5,000 governors and academy trustees has revealed concerns about the level of pupil poverty that schools are increasingly witnessing.

The research, which was conducted by the National Governance Association (NGA) and Tes, found that some schools are offering additional pupil support and pastoral care such as laundry services, food and money.

The survey found that:

  • 38 per cent of schools provided financial support for the purchase of school uniforms
  • 7 per cent provided a food bank
  • 5 per cent said they wash school uniforms
  • 4 per cent provide meals outside of term time
  • 2 per cent provide emergency loans

Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA, said: “It is shocking that we have got to the point where schools are having to help young people come to school in clean clothes.

“Because of the fact that other services and the welfare benefits system have been affected by a number of years of austerity, schools are having to pick up some of those pieces.

“I do think it is about other public services having suffered, and therefore families not having other places to turn.”

Debt affects 30 per cent of schools4

New research reveals pupil poverty concerns

The major annual survey of school leaders also revealed that schools were facing monetary pressures of their own – with 30 per cent admitting they were currently in debt.

  • 71 per cent said balancing the budget was one of the most important issues facing their school
  • 50 per cent recruitment was a major concern
  • 74 per cent disagreed with the statement that funding pressures can be managed without any adverse impact on the quality of education
  • 30 per cent said their schools have in-year deficits
  • Of these, 14 per cent expect their reserves to run out this year, 26 per cent next year, and 34 per cent in two years’ time
  • Only 15 per cent said they have sufficient funding for pupils with SEND

Amongst secondary school respondents:

  • 64 per cent had reduced the number of support staff
  • 55 per cent had cut the number of teaching staff
  • 55 per cent had cut the number of subjects on offer
  • 42 per cent had increased class sizes
  • 42 per cent had cut spending on premises;
  • 41 per cent had cut the number of qualifications on offer

Emma Knights, continued: “Most governors are saying our children are being affected by the levels of funding available at our schools.

“The answer is that if we want to avoid children being affected by the funding cuts, then we do need to increase the amount of money available to our state schools.

“As day follows night, if we want to avoid bad effects upon our education then actually more money will be needed over the next couple of years.”

New research reveals pupil poverty concerns