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.

    Poverty, access and cost of school uniform

    Schools should now design and implement their school uniform policies with particular regard to the costs of the uniform according to a new law passed in April 2021.  The NEU school uniform/dress code  guidance gives advice on poverty proofing, flexibility for SEND students and developing a culturally inclusive policy.

    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.

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    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 was relieved by the Government’s announcement to invest £170 million via local councils to provide children and young people with regular, nutritious meals over the Christmas holidays and that the Food and Activities Programme expanded to cover the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays throughout 2021.

    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.

    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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      Measuring Child Poverty

      There needs to be clear and immediate action from every part of Government to tackle the inequalities which have widened even further because of the pandemic. 

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      Pupil Absence

      Schools work hard every day to engage and support pupils who for whatever reason are absent from class.

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      School Uniforms

      Any measures from Government to support families, and bring the costs of school uniform down, are welcome. 

    Watch and share this video on social media

    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