Poverty impacts pupils, study shows


Commenting on the COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities Study(COSMOS) led by UCL and the Sutton Trust, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This new research confirms what teachers have witnessed over the last few years; that rising family poverty levels have had a devastating impact on children’s education. No child should go hungry throughout the day and the fact that so many children accessing food banks are not eligible for free school meals is a harrowing indictment of restrictive eligibility criteria.

‘The cost-of-living crisis has pushed many more families into hardship and too many children are coming to school too hungry to learn. Teachers and schools are picking up the pieces. 58% of our members told us they or their schools are providing additional food for children throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be this way.

‘The best way to ensure that all children access education they deserve is to offer free school meals to all children, starting with those in primary school. This would reduce stigma and improve attainment for the most disadvantaged, ensuring no child is left behind.

‘The Government must also respond to the growing mental health crisis in schools. A recent survey told us that a quarter of teachers and a third of support staff say they have no CAMHS support whatsoever, while around a half of school staff report no nurse, no senior mental health lead, or trained mental health first aider. The Government must invest in mental health services both in school and through CAMHS to reverse these worrying trends. The cost of not doing so will be great.”

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