“We are witnessing levels of poverty in our schools and colleges on a scale not seen in recent times. While this money is welcome it will not resolve the huge problems that poverty brings to children and young people’s lives and education. Nor should this money be allocated on a lottery basis – if a school needs money to support its pupils, it should receive it.
“The recent NEU poll of teachers (1) showed the heart-breaking consequences of poverty on children and young people. One teacher observed ‘mute children, going cold, making excuses, feeling ashamed’. Other remarks included children going hungry with no warm clothes, wearing worn out broken shoes, and school uniforms to bed.
“Many children this Christmas will be left with no support or food. Schools will be sending children home with food parcels and some will be opening on Christmas day. This is not a problem that will go away and it is not a problem that will be resolved by spending some money over the summer holidays. The root causes of poverty must be addressed.”