Schools are being forced to act as “miniature welfare states” to plug the gaps created by cuts in services to the poorest families. A survey of more than 2,000 headteachers found they were having to buy clothing such as uniforms and even underwear for their pupils as well as providing washing facilities and breakfasts.Which, you’ll note, is not the point of schools. We don’t send our children to school to be parented (well, we never used to, and normal families still don’t,,,) but to be educated.
And I think we can all agree that the UK education system is not doing such a bang-up job on that front that it has the time to dabble in this, can’t we?
At one school, all pupils were provided with toothbrushes and instructed to brush their teeth twice a day.Really? What, they all needed this? The entire school?
Or was this simply a case (yet again) of sheepdipping the entire school so they couldn’t be accused of singling out the few with incompetent parents?
The survey by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) estimates that schools are spending £43m a year to offset the effect of poverty on their pupils.Fantastic! Slash the school budget by £43m because the NAHT have just admitted that they have a surplus of that amount, since they clearly aren’t spending it on education!
Teachers were paying out of their own pockets to buy basic equipment such as stationery, P.E kits - and even birthday cards and presents for pupils who would not otherwise get them.Great! Licence to ignore every whinge from the teaching unions about low pay, then. It’s clearly too high.
Support for disadvantaged pupils supplied by schools includes:
- Buying birthday cards and presents for pupils heads know won't have any otherwise.
- Running food banks at school with the aid of a local charity
- Providing headlice treatment plus a haircut.
- Paying for outings for those who have diminished exposure to community events.
- Buying clothes and supplying free PE kits. Also washing facilities to wash clothing.
- Providing staff time to help parents complete paperwork they don't understand for assistance.
- One school is organising two teeth-brushing sessions a day because children who have not been taught to clean their teeth at home.
- Setting aside time for parents to talk about their worries, debts and family needs.None of that is the responsibility of the school, it is the responsibility of all the other overblown public sector departments we are forced to fund.
And it’s merely serving to prop up useless, ‘don’t care’ parents who shouldn’t be having kids they can’t or don’t want to bring up properly.