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The majority of teachers in Britain have worked in a school with children who were homeless, or became homeless in recent years, a survey suggests.
The poll, conducted by the homelessness charity Shelter, and YouGov, found widespread concern among the 1,507 teachers it surveyed about the condition pupils arrived at school in.
More than half (56%) of the respondents had worked at an educational setting with children who were, or became, homeless and had to live in temporary housing in the past three years.
Of the staff who had worked with these pupils, 94% reported that arriving to class tired was an issue for pupils who lived in inadequate housing or were experiencing homelessness, while 88% said missing classes or days of schools was problematic.
One teacher described how exhausted a young pupil became when she had to leave home at 6am for school after moving to emergency homeless accommodation in a different council area.
“The family of four are living in one room at a B&B. Her attendance has dropped severely, she has become ill and she is always tired,” the teacher said.
The survey also found 89% reported that arriving at school in unwashed or dirty clothing was an issue for these pupils, while 87% said they were coming in hungry.
Shelter has warned the situation could be worse now, as the data was collected between February and March – just before the first lockdown.
Further research by the charity last month found that 73% of the 1,072 teachers polled believed that homeless children or those living in bad housing had their education more negatively affected than their peers in suitable housing.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Without a safe and secure home, a child’s life chances can be deeply disrupted. This is a national scandal – and without action, the extra harm being done to homeless children as a result of the pandemic may never be undone.”
“Homeless children must not be the invisible victims of this crisis.
“We still don’t know what the long-term impact of the pandemic will be on this generation of children. But for now, Shelter is here to support and give hope to the families who need us the most.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “During the pandemic, we’ve taken unprecedented action to prevent people getting into financial hardship by helping businesses to pay salaries, boosting the welfare safety net by over £9bn and extending furlough. We’ve also changed the law to put in place six-month notice periods and banning the enforcement of evictions except in the most serious cases until after Christmas.
“We continue to work to with councils, charities and other partners to help them prevent and relieve homelessness in their areas.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Majority of UK teachers have worked in schools with homeless pupils, finds survey | Society