In the UK today, 31% of our children - 4.3 million - are trapped in poverty. That means the equivalent of 9 pupils in every class of 30 have been let down.

As educators, we know first-hand how poverty limits the life chances of children and significantly affects their educational experience and outcomes in school. We are calling on the Government to leave no child behind.

    What you can do

    The Government must act on 5 pressing issues to give children trapped in poverty the access to education they need

    1. Expand the Free School Meal (FSM) scheme to include every child (up to the age of 16) from a household in receipt of Universal Credit, or equivalent benefits.
    2. Eradicate holiday hunger by extending FSM provision of at least £15 per child per week during all school holidays.
    3. Reform all school uniform policies to ensure uniform options are affordable for families in the local community.
    4. Provide free household internet access for children and young people in households on Universal Credit.
    5. Establish a new, dedicated technology budget for all schools to combat the digital divide.

    Turning the Page on Poverty – membership guidance

    Read new NEU guidance on tackling poverty in the classroom – offering practical tips and resources to help practitioners break down the barriers to learning poverty creates in school.

    Turning the Page on Poverty banner
    Turning the Page on Poverty

    The NEU’s Turning the Page on Poverty is a practical guide for members to develop individual practice and tackle the impact of poverty on pupil learning throughout the school day.

    Holiday hunger win for the No Child Left Behind campaign

    The NEU is hugely relieved by the Government’s announcement this weekend to invest £170 million via local councils to provide children and young people with regular, nutritious meals over the Christmas holidays. Education staff will be relieved that the Food and Activities Programme will be expanded to cover the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays throughout 2021 – this is the right thing to do and will provide nutrition and support to families who need it.

    Marcus Rashford’s campaign has amplified the voices of teachers, support staff and headteachers who have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to respond to holiday hunger.

    This announcement means more than one million children will return to school after their holidays better equipped to learn. However, our work does not stop here – 1.5 million children from families receiving Universal Credit are not entitled to Free School Meals, (FSM) but are likely to be facing challenges in accessing regular nutritious dinners.

    The No Child Left Behind campaign will continue to press the Government to expand FSMs to all pupils in families eligible for Universal Credit

    Marcus Rashford adds his support to our campaign

    Thousands of people have added their voices to our open letter to Gavin Williamson, demanding that FSM be extended over the school holidays and that children from families in receipt of Universal Credit be included in the scheme. Marcus Rashford MBE, who has spearheaded the call for an expansion in Free School Meal provision, has added his support to our campaign.

    NEU members witness the heart breaking ways that poverty and deprivation affect children’s learning, well-being and happiness. Watch and share our campaign films demanding action on child poverty.

    Our members have been in touch to tell us their stories of teaching in communities where poverty puts up barriers to learning, and how they’ve been working to break them down so no child is left behind.

    Latest news on child poverty

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    Child poverty and its impact on pupils

    NEU members witness the heart breaking ways that poverty and deprivation affect children’s learning, well-being and happiness