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Half of teachers pay to provide basics for pupils

Teachers are using their own money to buy stationary and textbooks amid a ‘funding crisis.’ Photo: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

Teachers in Britain are increasingly paying from their own pockets to buy classroom supplies and basic essentials for their pupils, according to a new survey from teachers’ union NASWUT.

Of the 4,386 members of the teachers’ union surveyed, one in five said they use their own money to buy classroom resources every week, while over one in ten (12%) said they do at least twice a week. 

Three in five (64%) teachers said they have purchased paper, stationery, and arts and crafts materials for their classroom, while 43% said they have bought textbooks or reading books.

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What’s more, almost half (45%) said they have purchased essentials for their pupils in the last year, with three quarters paying for food, a third (29%) buying toiletries, and 23% buying clothing or shoes.

Nearly half (47%) said the amount of basic necessities they buy for pupils has increased in the last year, highlighting some of the effects of austerity in and out of schools.

Over half (53%) said they made these purchases because of funding pressures on their school. Almost a third (22%) said it was because the resources provided by their school are increasingly out of date or unsuitable, and 28% said their school was choosing to spend money on other things — rather than purchasing classroom resources.

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Two in five (63%) said the amount of items they are buying has increased in the last three years, with two thirds saying they are never reimbursed by their school or college, and a further 30% saying they are only reimbursed in part.

This follows letters from more than 7,000 headteachers in England that were sent to millions of parents before the Easter holidays, asking them to lobby their MPs for more school funding.

Headteachers’ campaigning group Worth Less? has accused the Department of Education of creating a “funding crisis” by “refusing to face the effects of cuts.”

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Evidence shows that many teachers are facing financial hardship themselves as a result of year on year pay cuts, and yet faced with increasing child poverty some are shouldering further financial burdens to support their pupils,” Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said.
 
“Teachers care deeply about the pupils they teach and will go to great lengths to ensure their needs are being met.
 
“Teachers once again are being left to pick up the pieces of failed education, social, and economic policies.”