NASUWT: North Yorkshire Federation
The Largest Teachers’ Union in North Yorkshire
Chris Head, North Yorkshire Federation Secretary for NASUWT, comments on the Children’s Commission on Poverty report;
NASUWT CONDEMNS THE ‘TAX ON LEARNING’
Commenting on the report by the Children’s Commission on Poverty on the number of families struggling to afford the costs associated with sending their children to school;
“This report confirms the findings of the research the NASUWT has been conducting each year since 2011, through surveys of parents and carers.
“The reality is that access to basic educational opportunities, which should be entitlements for all, is increasingly based on parents’ ability to pay.
“The NASUWT’s latest survey of parents has found significant year-on-year increases in the costs faced by parents for school uniforms, equipment, school meals and educational visits.
“Parents report the expectation in some schools that they will make significant financial donations to the school, pay for basic equipment such as paper and pens and enter into expensive monthly payments, which they can ill afford, for equipment such as iPads.
“Too many parents feel under immense pressure to meet these costs, at a time when they are already struggling to make ends meet. They feel guilty and distressed if they cannot meet the costs and worry about their child being isolated, bullied and stigmatised.
“Parents are facing an unacceptable tax on learning, which is hitting the poorest families the hardest.
“It is nothing short of scandalous that 3.7 million children are now living in poverty in the UK, many of them from working families, and the figure is rising.
“This is a shameful indictment of current education, social and economic policies.
“No child’s life should be degraded or derailed by poverty.
“The NASUWT has called for a Parliamentary Select Committee enquiry into the cost of education, as it is now increasingly clear that a basic principle of our great public services, that they should be free at the point of use, is being seriously compromised.”