Report shows schools facing perilous situation

Community is calling on the government to address the perilous situation facing schools following the release of a new report showing the acute impact of cost-of-living pressures on families and staff.

A new report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) highlights that some 87% of schools in England are providing uniform and clothing to pupils whose families are unable to afford them.

The study also highlights that 9 in 10 primary, secondary and special schools are subsidising extra-curricular activities for pupils; while 70 per cent of schools report providing food to pupils through food parcels, food banks, food vouchers and subsidised breakfasts.

Helen Osgood, National Officer for Education & Early Years at Community Union said:

“The costs-of-living crisis, coming hard on the heels of COVID-19 has hit schools and families especially hard.  Even before the pandemic it was common for school staff to spend their own money on purchasing resources, simple food such as toast, and funding uniform items.  Therefore, sad though it is, it comes as no surprise for this research to confirm that the situation continues to get worse.

“There is a deep need for the Government to recognise the perilous situation of our schools.  When children in one of the richest countries in the world have insufficient food, are cold because of a lack of suitable clothing and are anxious and tired, is it any wonder that they are not able to work to the best of their ability?  We are letting a generation of children down by failing to meet these fundamental needs and schools and their staff are desperately trying to fill in the gaps. Urgent action is needed now before it is too late.”

The full NFER research document (Cost-of-living crisis: Impact on schools) is available to read online here.


Community is the union for education and early years professionals: representing teachers, headteachers, education, school support staff and early years staff. With over fifty years’ experience, we represent members and campaign to improve conditions for education and early years professionals. We are a modern trade union, campaigning for a better working world.

If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at or on 0800 389 6332.


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