BBC Question Time Audience Members Reveal Teachers Now Pay For Kids' Food Themselves

"They are not just teaching, they are being social workers, they are being parents."
BBC Question Time audience members claimed teachers are paying to provide for students out of their own pocket
BBC Question Time audience members claimed teachers are paying to provide for students out of their own pocket
BBC Question Times

Two school workers claimed, separately, that teachers are now having to fork out to buy breakfast for some students.

Speaking on Thursday’s BBC Question Time, the teacher and support worker were responding to queries around whether school staff may go on strike in the upcoming weeks.

The support worker revealed that the reality of being a teacher has become quite stark, as educators are now having to provide a meal for their pupils.

She said: “They’re buying toast, milk, so children can come in and have a chat.”

The audience member added that it means children “who may not have a great start in the morning at home” can then “have a chat and be calm” with a teacher before starting their day.

She concluded: “They are not just teaching, they are being social workers, they are being parents, they are making sure those children are. taking part in after school clubs.

“And that’s not right – teachers want to teach their subjects well, and be in the classroom with those [students] so they have the best education.

“But they’re not being recognised for that and they’re not being up-skilled.”

The other audience member, a teacher working in further education at a secondary school, also explained that the working conditions and pressure on teachers meant people were quitting in droves.

She said: “I’ve seen a lot of colleagues, especially since Covid, leaving the profession.”

She claimed this was down to a lack of resources to support her students. With around 50% of her own learners living in extreme poverty, she has resorted to using her own funds to offer them breakfast.

ITV’s Daniel Hewitt responded to the clip on Twitter and said: “I heard this back in 2017 in the north west and it wasn’t just food. I met teachers who had bought kids coats and shoes.”

National Education Union (NEU)’s Mary Bousted also painted a bleak picture of the sector as she sat on the panel of this week’s Question Time.

She tackled criticisms around the idea that teachers might strike by saying that the tax cuts Tory leadership candidates have been promising throughout their campaigns will decimate public services which are already exhausted.

“Already, they’ve gone through Covid, they’ve gone through 10 years of austerity. If you look at school funding, [it] will not reach 2010 levels, in real terms, until 2025.

“So how do we get a high-skilled economy when we starve education of funds?

“The fact is we’re running out of teachers.”

She said they had 2% of the target number of physics teachers, 1% of computer teachers and just 7% of Maths teachers.

“We’re going to start next year with half our teacher training places not filled.”

She said predictions suggest 40% of teachers will leave in the next 10 years as pay is gradually getting so low.

“You cannot do that to public services and expect them to function. And public services are the bedrock of a civilised society.”

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