Responding to the annual state of the nation report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation detailing the extent of poverty in the UK, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“School leaders are seeing more and more hardworking families struggling, and more children living in poverty. Last year, an NAHT poll showed that 81% of school leaders have seen an increase in the number of children coming to school hungry in the last five years, and 75% have seen an increase in the number of parents coming to school to ask for financial support or support with essentials.
“This country’s record on child poverty is truly shocking. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds have disproportionately suffered from cuts not just to education, but to all the wider services that should be there to help them. Successive governments have failed to invest in those who need it the most. This government must have the confidence to change that record.
“Schools are at the centre of efforts to improve equality of opportunity. But the issues that underpin inequality reach far beyond the school gates and exist throughout the communities that schools serve. Inequality will remain entrenched in the UK unless the government takes urgent action to break the grip of poverty.”
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