This briefing provides an overview of developments in the area of commercialisation. Information on this area has been circulated to divisions and associations and is also featured on the NUT website.
Annual Conference 2003 adopted a resolution unanimously on the commercialisation of schools, child health and advertising aimed at children. This topic has received a great deal of media attention and concerns have been raised by a wide range of organisations about the issue of food promotion to children and the effect that it has on child health.
Commercial companies are becoming increasingly involved in schools. The NUT is deeply alarmed at the targeting of schools by businesses seeking to market their products and exploit schools, pupils and parents. UK brands are spending an estimated £300m a year on targeting the classroom to increase sales. Many children’s food products include fundraising offers for school books, equipment or school sports clothing.
The NUT’s concern is compounded by the fact that the schools funding crisis created by the Government is placing pressure on some schools to be involved in promotions because of their budget difficulties. In some cases revenue from vending machines can amount to almost £50,000 – the equivalent of two teachers’ salaries.