April 2012

Teachers fear pupils will end up on the dole

New research released by The Prince's Trust and the Times Educational Supplement warns that thousands of teachers fear more pupils will end up on benefits than ever before.

teacher surveyResearch released by The Prince's Trust and the Times Educational Supplement reveals that seven out of ten secondary school teachers are "increasingly worried" that their pupils will end up on benefits, while more than one in three feel that their efforts are "in vain", due to rising levels of unemployment.

The research, which highlights the devastating impact of the recession on teachers and pupils across England, shows how more than half of teachers expect more pupils will end up on the dole than ever before.

Speaking about the devastating impact of the recession on teachers and pupils across England, Ginny Lunn, director of policy and strategy, at The Prince’s Trust said; "The recession is already damaging the hopes of more than a million young people who are struggling to find a job. Now young people in schools are next in line. We cannot allow them to become the next victims of this recession."

She continued,

With the right support, it is possible for pupils to achieve their ambitions, rather than becoming a “lost generation”. Government, charities and employers must work with teachers now to support vulnerable young people giving them the skills they need to find a job in the future.

Teachers are also witnessing increasing numbers of pupils coming into school "hungry", "dirty" and "struggling to concentrate" since the recession, according to the survey.

Almost half regularly witness pupils coming into school suffering from malnutrition or showing signs that they haven’t eaten enough. One in four of these see this more frequently since the recession, with some teachers admitting that they often buy food for struggling pupils from their own wages.

Meanwhile, more than eight out of ten teachers regularly witness pupils coming into school with dirty clothes, with one in four of these seeing this more regularly since the recession.

A teacher who took part in the survey said: "One student came into school wearing a soaking wet uniform. He washed it in the morning as his mother had failed to do so due to being inebriated. He didn't know how to use the drier so came in wet."

According to the research, based on interviews with 515 secondary school teachers, mentoring support is the most successful intervention when it comes to working with disadvantaged young people in schools. However, two-fifths of teachers feel they do not have enough support to help these young people effectively, with many working more than 40 hours of overtime each term to do so.

More than two-fifths of teachers who spend time supporting disadvantaged young people "always" or "often" feel stressed when it comes to supporting those young people in their schools (45 per cent) – and more than one in four of these feel this way more regularly since the recession.

Editor of the Times Educational Supplement (TES), Gerard Kelly said: “Things are tough out there for teachers, and for their pupils. That many are faced with malnutrition is truly shocking."

He continued;

Teachers have to work incredibly hard at all times, and in times of economic uncertainty it is more important than ever for everyone involved with education to work to ensure that the poorest in society are not left behind.

The Prince’s Trust runs the xl and Fairbridge programmes with teachers to help young people who are struggling at school, preventing exclusions, improving grades and giving them the skills they need to find a job in the future.

Ginny Lunn adds:

Our schemes are proven to work, providing vital support to teachers and giving vulnerable young people the skills and confidence to succeed.

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More information

The Prince’s Trust and TES Teachers’ Survey was carried out by YouGov online. The total sample size was 515 secondary school teachers across England.

For further details and the survey results, please download the Teachers' Survey Executive Summary.

 

xl clubs

xl clubs provide a personal development programme aimed at young people aged 13-19 at risk of underachievement or exclusion from school.

Are you a school / centre interested in running an xl club? Head to xl club information for further details and Prince's Trust contact information.