Child poverty

Child poverty

Research and action

The NEU is proud to be a member of the End Child Poverty campaign and also works closely with the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

The facts on child poverty are shocking: there were 4.1 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2016-17, an increase of 100,000 on the previous year. This means 30% of children, or nine pupils in every classroom of 30 pupils, are officially poor.

Not enough is being done to address child poverty and inequality in Britain and the situation is getting worse - see our Child Poverty EduFact.

Research and action

We seek to raise awareness about the impact of poverty on children’s education. In April 2018 the NEU and CPAG published the results of a survey of members about their experiences of child poverty in the classroom. A shocking 87% said that poverty was having a significant impact on the learning of their pupils and students and 60% believed that the situation has worsened since 2015.

The survey also revealed the extent to which schools are stepping in to fill the gaps left by the cuts to statutory services and voluntary and community organisations.
The results of the survey were widely reported including on the front cover of the Guardian. Read the Union’s press release and the survey report here.

The growing problem of hunger among children during the holidays was highlighted through another survey of NUT members working in primary schools conducted in March 2017. Over half (51%) of respondents said that pupils at their school were affected by “holiday hunger”, while 80% of these reported that the numbers affected had increased over the last two years.

Teachers should not be blamed for the challenges facing children living in poverty. They cannot, alone, compensate for the child poverty which some of their pupils are facing.
Independent research, ‘Exam Factories?’, commissioned by the NUT showed how the current accountability system is having a disproportionately negative impact on disadvantaged pupils.

The academisation and school ‘choice’ policies promoted by the Government lead to social segregation and to what the Sutton Trust’s report, ‘Chain Effects 2015’, describes as a “double disadvantage” for children living in poverty.
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