Impact of poverty on schools and services

Joseph Rowntree Foundation research on impact of deepening poverty on primary schools and GP surgeries.


Commenting on new research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showing the impact that hardship is having on families, children and staff in primary schools and primary and community healthcare settings, Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“Today’s report from the JRF provides a damning insight of how our public services are struggling as they go above and beyond to plug gaps left by government. Schools and their staff are increasingly bearing the weight of addressing poverty in society – a responsibility which must lie with government. How can it be right that primary schools are now key providers of food aid?

‘This new research adds to a now substantial amount of evidence - which all tells the same story of schools having to deal with problems they are not equipped for. Three in five of our members say they or their school provide extra food for hungry pupils from their own pockets. As the JRF’s report shows, 9 in 10 primary school staff say pupils’ hardship is now having an impact on them. It cannot carry on like this. 

‘An incoming government must recognise and address the causes and impacts of child poverty. Schools need to be poverty-proofed and it cannot be left to staff to feed hungry children from their own already stretched incomes. Solutions need to begin outside of the school gate, with the immediate removal of the two-child benefit cap and the introduction of Free School Meals to all pupils. Until these things happen, our state will continue to be shamed by its inaction against the scourge of child poverty”.

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