An alarming survey has revealed almost three-quarters of teachers have seen pupils come to class hungry, as schools are forced to compensate to meet childrens’ basic needs.
NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, published the findings of their third annual survey, which highlighted the impact of ‘financial hardship’ is steadily growing.
Over the last year, 71 per cent of teachers saw their pupils come to school hungry, while more than a quarter have given their own food away to students.
And over half have seen their school give food to hungry children.
Of the 3,250 teachers surveyed, more than half said some youngsters were unable to afford uniform, with 15 per cent claiming they have given pupils clothing.
More than half – 59 per cent – reported their school had handed out garments.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, went a step further, claiming both teachers and support staff were also mending or washing clothes.
The survey also showed nearly two thirds of staff have either lent, or given, school equipment, while more than half again reported their school had done so.
And 41 per cent have given financial advice to parents facing difficulties, while more than half said pupils were displaying rising levels of anxiety due to financial pressures at home.
NASUWT highlighted teachers are increasingly making referrals to external organisations for struggling families.
In addition, the findings illustrated housing was a key issue affecting students, with more than a third of teachers claiming their pupils were living in temporary accommodation.
A further quarter had seen schoolchildren lose their homes, with more than a third witnessing pupils leaving mid-term because they have been forced to move.
A large number of teachers, more than 75 per cent, said a rising number of children were absent from class, and nearly two thirds reported behavioural problems among pupils.
Ms Keates said over the years the problems were ‘worsening’, and questioned how this situation could occur in one of the world’s largest economies.
She added: “It is clear that teachers and schools are being left to pick up the pieces of callous fiscal and social policies.
“Poverty is not incidental to teachers. It is a key inhibitor to educational progression and schools simply cannot be expected to tackle these issues alone.”