ASCL comment on UCL research into how schools are ‘propping up a failing welfare state’

14/10/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on UCL research which highlights how the Covid pandemic has shown the extent to which families rely on schools for ‘basic needs’. 
 
Commenting on UCL research which highlights how the Covid pandemic has shown the extent to which families rely on schools for ‘basic needs’, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“UCL’s research reflects the stark reality that life for many families is so hard that they have to turn to schools and colleges for basic needs such as food, clothing and other support.
 
“This is a product not only of the Covid pandemic but of a decade of austerity. The Social Mobility Commission calculates that around 4.3 million children – almost one third of children in the UK – were living in poverty as of March 2020. This is an increase of around 700,000, or 3.7 percentage points, from March 2012.
 
“It is a shameful state of affairs that condemns many young people not only to the misery of living in poverty but also affects their education as they are less likely to be in a fit condition to learn if they are hungry or live in poor quality housing.
 
“Whatever the government’s mantra of ‘levelling up’ is supposed to mean, there surely cannot be any greater need than that of tackling the scourge of child poverty.”