Teachers paying for classroom resources themselves, says research

25 Sep 17

Almost all school staff in England are paying for classroom resources out of their own pockets to plug funding gaps, according to new research.

The National Education Union survey, released on Friday, showed 94% of 1,800 school staff surveyed had spent their own money to ensure resources were available in the classroom.

Some teachers [0.6%] reported spending as much as £1,000 of their own cash at a time when unions have warned the education sector is facing a £2bn funding gap by 2019/20.


Other findings from the NEU survey included: 

  • 33% of staff said they spent more last year in the previous years
  • 61% said they had done so because their school had insufficient funds
  • 26% spent between £101 and £500 of their own money on school resources last year
  • 31% spent between £51 and £100
  • 73% paid for stationery
  • 58% bought books
  • 43% bought art materials.


Nearly four in ten respondents said their school asked parents for money to help with school funding last year.

Two-thirds said their school asked parents to pay to attend school concerts and sports events and over a fifth 22% said school had asked parents to pay for books.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “Staff have always been willing to spend some of their own money for the odd item such as prizes for children, but the funding cuts are digging deep.

“This is making it hard for schools to manage without being subsidised by staff and parents.”

She added: “Parents should not be expected to pay for their children’s education or risk their children missing out on school trips or seeing them perform in school sports if they cannot afford to pay.”

Bousted said it was wrong to rely on the good will of staff, who she said had seen their own pay fall in real-terms over in recent years.

The report followed the release of the Parent Teacher Association annual report, which showed parents were donating more money towards schools to help pay for trips, text books and stationary.

The NEU has more than 450,000 members, and represents the majority of teachers and educational professionals in the UK. 

Separately, a recent YouGov poll for the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families showed that nine out ten teachers fell they lack adequate training to deal with mental health problems of young people.

Norman Lamb, health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, stated this was a “yawning gap” in the ability of schools to help children with mental health difficulties

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