While parents on lower incomes struggle to meet school-related costs, their children face playground bullying and fall behind academically.
Millions of families are struggling to pay for basics such as school dinners, uniforms, course materials and trips, and are being forced to scrimp on essentials like food and heating to pay for them, The Guardian reports.
According to a report from the Children’s Commission on Poverty, parents face average annual bills of £800. However with some state secondary uniforms costing more than £500, this cost can be much higher. With more than 95% of parents on low incomes, reporting difficulties meeting school-related costs, the Guardian report said that the idea of a free education is “far from reality”.
The inquiry panel was made up of 16 young people who said that many poorer children fall behind academically and are subject to humiliation and bullying because they “stand out” in the classroom. They claimed that teachers and schools often don’t comprehend the psychological impact of poverty on pupils, failing to prevent them being stigmatised.
Uniforms aren’t the only expense parents struggle with:
- School meals cost £400 a year on average, but over 540,000 children living in poverty do not qualify for free meals
- Books, stationery and equipment cost an average of £60 per child
- A third of children say they have fallen behind at school because they could not afford a computer or internet access
NASUWT said the report showed how parents were being hit by “an unacceptable tax on learning, which is hitting the poorest families the hardest”.
Does your school have measures in place to monitor the effects of this issue on your students? How are you helping to manage the psychological effect that some students experience?