A shocking survey by UK charity In Kind Direct has revealed how primary school teachers are affected by soaring child poverty rates. According to government figures published in 2018, 4.1 million children are living in relative poverty across the UK – a spike of 100,000 in just 12 months.
With low-income families sometimes having to choose between providing their children with food and personal hygiene, 43% of parents surveyed by In Kind Direct said they have had to go without basic hygiene or cleaning products. As a result, a staggering 63% of primary school teachers surveyed have seen children come to school in dirty clothes, and 47% said children have come in without having cleaned their teeth. The survey found that more than half of the teachers surveyed provide students with washing powder, soap and shampoo on a weekly basis.
These heartbreaking statistics serve to demonstrate just how important it is for children to have access to a clean, safe and reliable school environment. When children face dire poverty at home, a clean school can serve as a refuge from their difficult home lives.
The social stigma attached to poor hygiene can have an immensely detrimental impact on children’s self-esteem, as they are often made fun of or rejected by other pupils who don’t want to sit next to them or play with them. This could make them want to avoid school, therefore damaging their performance and, ultimately, their life prospects. Education can be viewed as a route out of poverty, and so it is vital for children not to be put off attending school due to being stigmatised by their classmates.
What’s clear is that the role of teachers is of the utmost importance in helping children through a life of poverty. This means that schools must prioritise making this as easy for teachers as possible. Striving to do their best for children facing these struggles is hugely challenging and stressful, and teachers need to work in an environment that is beneficial to their cause, as well as to their own mental health.
Ecocleen is strongly committed to supporting the teachers who are working so hard to help the children in their care, by ensuring a clean, safe and healthy environment for pupils and teachers alike. The high quality service and standards that we provide bring emotional benefits to teachers in our schools, as well as preventing them from becoming ill, so that they are able to be there for children as much as possible.
Safeguarding is a key passion for Ecocleen, so our schools can rest assured their pupils are safe at all times. All Ecocleen staff are enhanced DBS checked, and all of the innovative, eco-friendly products that our staff use contain chemicals that are 100% safe for humans.
We wish that we could eradicate child poverty once and for all, but what we can do is our very best to support all teachers in their fight to help make life better for all children.