Teachers 'expected' to spend their own money to support squeezed school budgets
PUBLISHED: 11:49 19 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:44 19 April 2019
Teachers are dipping into their own pockets to buy books and paper for the classroom as pressure on school budgets continues.
A survey by teaching union NASUWT found some were even having to cough up for clothes and toiletries for their pupils as families struggle to make ends meet.
This newspaper reported in March that schools in Norfolk were providing and washing uniforms for pupils and cutting their hair to help out families suffering from high levels of deprivation.
One in five of the 4,386 teachers polled by NASUWT said they bought lesson resources with their money once a week and one in eight said it happened several times a week.
The most common items purchased were paper or stationery, which almost two thirds (64pc) of teachers had shelled out for, arts and crafts materials (64pc) and textbooks or reading books.
Meanwhile nearly half (45pc) of teachers reported spending their own money on necessities for their pupils in the last year, with three quarters having bought food, 29pc toiletries and 23pc clothing or shoes.
Almost two in three (63pc) of those questioned said the amount of items they are buying has increased over the last three years.
One respondent said: “There is no money in school to buy anything other than what is deemed necessary.
“We are working on a zero budget in school and struggling to keep staff.”
Another said they were once told to buy £10 Nandos vouchers for each year group as a behaviour incentive. “It was not to be reimbursed and something I was 'expected' to do.”
Another teacher said they had got themselves in debt because of the purchases made for the classroom.
One said: “To teach those outstanding lessons that we are expected to do requires additional enhancements.
“I have spent at least £5,000 over the last few years and no doubt will continue to do so – voluntarily but not always happily.”
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said teachers were “once again being left to pick up the pieces” of “failed” government policies.
“Evidence shows that many teachers are facing financial hardship themselves as a result of year-on-year pay cuts, and yet, faced with increasing child poverty, some are shouldering further financial burdens to support their pupils,” he said.
Minister for children and families Nadhim Zahawi said: “We recognise the budgeting challenges schools face and have introduced a wide range of practical support to help schools and head teachers make the most of every pound on non-staff costs.”
A separate survey of 400 education leaders by the Association of School and College leaders (ASCL) in March found that more than 95pc believed pupil poverty had worsened in recent years as local authority support for children and families had been stripped back.