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Schools providing £43.5m of extra support to children due to cuts

May 1, 2015 by

Survey shows school leaders paying for food, clothes and washing facilities to outings and head lice treatment, raising fears for deeper cuts in next parliament

Schools are providing an estimated £43.5m of unfunded support for children from low income families who have been left “high and dry” as a result of coalition cuts, a poll of headteachers has revealed.

According to the survey, published on Friday, eight out of 10 headteachers (84%) who responded said they were providing more support than five years ago, including food, clothes and washing facilities.

Others said their schools were paying for outings, head lice treatment and haircuts, as well as birthday cards and presents for pupils who would not otherwise receive any. Often teachers were paying out of their own pockets to help those most in need.

More than four out of five (84%) identified a change in financial circumstances among parents of those children affected, while 66% said they were having to step in to provide services that would previously have been delivered by health and social services – of which more than seven in 10 (72%) said they were providing mental health support.

Less than a week before the general election, the survey will raise grave concerns about the pressure on schools providing the additional support, and the impact on the most vulnerable children, of deeper cuts in the next parliament.

The poll of 2,000 school leaders across all phases of education was commissioned by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), which represents 29,500 school leaders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and was published on the first day of its annual conference in Liverpool.

Russell Hobby, the NAHT general secretary, said the survey showed that schools were operating like a “miniature welfare state that’s being delivered ad hoc”, but warned that spending to alleviate the short-term effects of poverty meant there was less money to spend on education, which was the real route out of poverty.

Source: Schools providing £43.5m of extra support to children due to cuts – poll | Education | The Guardian

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