9 out of 10 school workers say poverty is affecting children's learning, according to NEU poll

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15th April 2019 15:15 - Education

9 out of 10 school workers say poverty is affecting children's learning: Research by the National Education Union (NEU) has revealed a picture of worsening child poverty within schools, ahead of its annual conference in Liverpool.

The poll of 8,600 school workers and NEU members including head teachers, teachers and support staff has painted a bleak picture with nine out of ten questioned  (91%) saying that poverty and low income is impacting the education of their pupils.

And when independent providers are omitted, the figures are even greater, increasing to 97% -  with more than half (52%) saying the effect poverty is having in schools is considerable.

Looking at the impact on learning attributable to poverty, almost eight out of ten (78%) members said some pupils were showing signs of tiredness and fatigue, while just over three quarters (76%) said they noticed students were having difficulty concentrating in lessons. Three quarters (75%) believe poor behaviour seen in the classroom can be attributed to poverty, while 57% said students were showing signs of hunger in school.  Half of those polled said they had experienced students with ill health because of poverty, with 35% disclosing they believed cases of bullying were attributable to poverty.

The report details many examples given by school workers of children facing hardship, anxiousness and struggles with mental health due to poverty. Half of the respondents polled felt the situation has worsened since 2016; three in ten believe it to have stayed the same (30%) while just 2% say the situation has improved. According the results, the situation has declined to a greater extent in primary schools.

Looking at how concerned respondents are with the current situation and the effects of poverty and low income, 49% they are to a ‘large extent’, while a third (33%) said they are to ‘some’ extent.



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