CHILD POVERTY across the North West is a rapidly growing problem, according to Teacher’s Union NASUWT.

The comments come after an ITV report published shocking statistics about cases of malnourished children in Lancashire schools.

Aside from being a primary school teacher, Damien McNulty is Chair of the NASUWT (the National Teacher’s & Headteacher’s Union) Primary Advisory Committee.

He claims that Salford schools are some of the worst affected by this regional poverty crisis.

Household poverty is an absolute barrier for educational attainment.” He explains.

“As teachers, we worry that many of the children in particularly deprived inner-city areas – such as Liverpool, Sefton and Salford – go without proper meals over the school holiday period.

“For some of them, the only square meals they get are at school.”

Aside from a lack of basic nourishment, McNulty went on the explain the disadvantages that many young Salford schoolchildren face.

“Unfortunately, what we’re seeing across schools in very deprived areas are a number of problems that arise around government policies, such as housing, benefits payments and a higher cost of living.

“So what we experience in many primary schools are children arriving to schools – many of whom have not had any breakfast, as parents are understandably prioritising feeding their children and keeping them warm in the home.

“Consequentially, we also see children who aren’t arriving in a “full school uniform” – the vast majority of schools will take a pragmatic approach to that and ensure that the uniform can be sourced affordably, but some academies do not take such measures.

“As these children move into their teenage years, they can often experience difficult issues such as bullying from their peers for wearing incorrect or threadbare uniforms.”

Such problems are known to have a profound affect on the mental health and general wellbeing of a child, which can have a huge impact on academic achievement.

This contributes to what McNulty dubs a “self-fulfilling” cycle of poverty – a process in which multiple generations perform poorly and cannot afford to fulfill the basic needs of their own children.

According to the Salford City Partnership, Salford has the second highest rate of child poverty in Greater Manchester – the City is also in the top 20% of areas that suffer severe child poverty in the UK.

However, there is some help available for families in need.

Established in 1869, Wood Street Mission is a children’s charity that aims to alleviate the financial stresses of families across Greater Manchester.

“We provide families with practical help to meet their basic needs.” Claims one representative.

“We do this by giving out new and good quality second hand day-to-day necessities like clothes, bedding and baby equipment, as well as toys and books which are important for children’s wellbeing and development.”

If you are family , or know of a family,  in need of financial support, you can contact the Wood Street Mission here.


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