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Half School Staff Fork Out On Essentials For Kids

Monday, June 25, 2018



Staff fork out on food for hungry kids, tampons, toilet rolls, pens, pencils and books as funding cuts bite.

More than half of school support staff feel they have to spend their own money on things for children at cash-strapped schools, a new GMB study shows.

Teaching assistants and other support staff are forking out on food for hungry kids, tampons, pens, pencils and books.

Staff report having to bring balls and even paper aeroplanes for break time because ‘our children have nothing to play with in the playground’.

Even toilet paper, plasters, wipes and first aid necessities are being brought in by members for their poorly funded schools. [See note 1 for full testimonies from school staff]

A whopping 78% of staff say their school has been forced to make ‘significant financial cut backs’ as Conservative underfunding of education bites.

The shocking statistics come from a nationwide survey of members.

More than 4,600 school support staff responded to the question ‘Have you felt obliged to spend your own money on things for the children (food, toilet paper, brought resources from home etc)’

Meanwhile figures uncovered by GMB Union from the Department for Education’s own previously unpublished analysis reveal up to 2.6 million children could lose out on free school meals by 2022 thanks to Government plans. [2]

Barbara Plant, GMB President and Former Teaching Assistant, said:

“These horrifying stories show the desperate situation facing so many of our schools

“A generation of children’s education is being compromised as staff numbers are cut and classes get larger.

“Meanwhile staff are left out of pocket bringing basic necessities like toilet paper from home.

“Their goodwill is being taken advantage of because they care so much about the children at their schools.

 “The Government needs to stop denying that school budgets are being cut – the reality is in front of us.

"If staff cuts continue then many schools will struggle to fulfil their statutory obligations.

"It’s absolutely vital that schools get the extra funding they need as soon as possible.”


Contact: GMB Press office 07958 156846     

Notes to Editors

[1] Testimony of GMB school staff members

I had to buy pencils and pens because the school won't provide anymore

Books and resources are very scarce

I bought pens, pencil cases, biscuits.

Tissues, cleaning products, sanitary products wash & launder items used in medical room.

Breakfast cereal as we are in a deprived area where children often arrive having had no breakfast. Also books for the classroom as we no longer have a school library service.

Our children have nothing to play with in the playground so i will buy chalk skipping ropes paper aeroplanes and outdoor equipment

We have been told due to budget cuts we are allowed to request items deemed absolutely necessary, therefore staff buy all the extras to make School fun out of their own money!

Paper plates, food for vulnerable children, toothpaste, toothbrush, flannel, nail brush and towel.

The budget is extremely tight and the kitchen will only prepare a certain amount of food.  If the children do not have enough money for a lunch or do not like/drop their lunch they often do not get another one.  I have provided food for these children sometimes.  I have also spent my money on books for the library and things for projects in school.

I also bring in things from my own children as equipment in school is broken or has bits missing. There is no money to replace these items in school so the children go without.

Due to lack of resources I provide at least 90% of stationery. I regularly provide food and drinks to students. Also toiletries and sanitary products. I regularly clean and repair clothing at home

I have bought resources such as playground toys voluntarily out of my own pocket as the school have not done so and I couldn't watch the children go without.

Have given food to pupils who have nothing to eat for lunch

Food for students who aren’t eating at home, school resources including basic things like crayons, glue, scissors and A4 printer paper.

Hungry children with no bus fares and lack of resources in the school, bringing in personal stationary and office equipment to minimise budget expenditure

I often pay for lunches and I have breakfast bars in my drawer as kids are often hungry. I also supply sanitary towels

Paid for a child's breakfast club as parent had benefits suspended

We have school animals and I often pay for their food. I also make dressing up costumes using my own resources and in my own time. If the children need play dough I will supply the ingredients and other things like rubbers and craft resources I will buy from my own meagre salary!

Working in early years we are constantly running out of learning resources and with no funds I often buy cleaning products, art resources and books out of my own Money.

Food and treats for students who are hungry.  Disinfectant for my office, toilet roll, soap, fresh air spray, hand wash, fridge, toaster and kettle.

I am told there is no money for resources and snacks for the children so have often bought them myself

We buy bread on a daily basis so the children that come from other areas and travel long distances can have a snack/breakfast

As a lunchtime Supervisor I have bought play equipment to such as balls into school

My Amazon account tells a very sorry story! Books , toys and puppets. I have also donated toys belonging to my own children.

It’s mainly soap, cleaning products or disinfectant in case of cleaning up sick.

I have bought children’s clothing and underwear in case of toileting accidents

I often bring in extra packed lunch so if a pupil hasn’t brought/been given theirs I can give them something to eat.  Always buying sanitary protection for the girls.  I work in Food Technology and often find myself buying large enough airtight containers for pupils as Parents and Carers send them in either without a box or a 'small take away' style box.

We have some children under a child protection plan that don’t have any food at home. We buy them food and will cook food to be frozen to see them through the holidays.

I have bought baby wipes, nappy sacks to put wet clothes in, plasters and SEN resources.

I bought sanitary products and underwear for year 5 and 6 girls. I have bought clothes and food for children on a regular basis.

I'm a cleaner & have supplied some cleaning products

Food if they haven't got any money or tampons for girls if needed.  Always keep a good supply in my desk.

I am medical supervisor / student services / pastoral so I need to buy some provisions to keep students well / clean


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