25 June 2015
Commenting on the Government’s child poverty statistics, which were published today, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Today’s figures show that the Government has nothing to offer when it comes to tackling child poverty. Indeed, so resigned are they to this fact that they have announced plans to remove existing targets for getting child poverty down. This is a disgrace coming from a Government which presides over one of the wealthiest nations.
“It is the poorest in society who are bearing the brunt of austerity measures. Unless the issue of child poverty is addressed, millions of children will never achieve their full potential. Teachers are only too aware of the problems of poverty and, frankly, deprivation that face our pupils. They take their pastoral responsibility very seriously, but addressing society-wide inequity cannot be the task of schools alone.
“Children and young people who arrive at school hungry, who live in poor housing and who cope with the daily struggle of living in households with little money, cannot learn as well as they could and should. Teachers should do everything they can with every child – and they do. Politicians should do everything they can to eliminate poverty – but they don’t.”