Teachers say children are sleeping in uniforms as survey uncovers ‘distressing’ levels of poverty

A teacher has revealed children are sleeping in their uniforms because they don’t have pyjamas as a new survey uncovers ‘distressing’ levels of poverty in UK schools.

The NEU study of 1,026 teachers in England found over half say they believe more children and young people are likely to go hungry over Christmas, while 40 per cent said their schools were having to provide extra items for pupils and their families because of increased poverty.

Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the NEU, said: “This is a Dickensian picture of the poverty that far too many children and their families are having to endure.

“The government is out of touch with the distressing new reality of children’s daily lives: with what it means to live without enough money for basics, such as food, shoes and adequate clothing.”

A TES investigation carried out to coincide with the study results found the problems could be seriously deep-rooted.

One teacher said they “found out last week that a third of my class sleep in their uniforms as they don’t have pyjamas”, Dave Speck reported.

Another said: “We are buying them coats on a scale never seen before.

“We give free school dinners to children who don’t qualify for free school meals because their parents work but have contacted us to say they have no money that day.”

A total of 46 per cent of teachers said “holiday hunger” had got worse, and that there were now more housing issues, including poor quality housing, overcrowding and children living in temporary accommodation compared to three years ago.

“One student wore his trousers backwards as he didn’t want anyone to know he had holes in the knees,” said another teacher.

Last month Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last praised teachers who were feeding pupils out of their own pocket amid poverty levels that, he said, shouldn’t exist in the world’s sixth richest country.

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