Educating Essex school: ‘All of a sudden these kids are hungry’

The headteacher of the school featured in the reality television series Educating Essex has described using his own money to buy a winter coat for a boy whose parents could not afford one, amid an escalating economic crisis in the area that has seen the number of pupils taking home food parcels triple in a year. This is from the Guardian…

Vic Goddard, whose secondary school in Harlow, Passmores Academy, is rated outstanding by Ofsted, told the Guardian that even children with a parent or parents in work were often struggling and having to choose between heating their homes, buying clothes for their children or having enough food.

He said: “It’s not because the parents are bone idle. It’s not the stereotype of scrounging parents. These people are not happy their children are hungry, or aren’t warm enough. But they don’t know what to do about it because there’s no jobs.”

He recounted being in a meeting when a colleague mentioned a boy who had arrived at school wearing just a thin, sleeveless bodywarmer in below-zero temperatures. Goddard said he left the meeting and sought out the pupil: “We went straight to Primark and I bought him a coat with my own money. He’s now got a coat. I’ll be honest, it made me feel better. It made me feel that I was doing something to make a difference, whereas so many times I’m putting sticking plaster over something. But now this person is going to walk home warm, and if he has to sit in a house with his coat on he’ll still be warm.”

Numerous schools have reported a significant increase in deprivation among pupils. A report last week by the Children’s Society in association with two teaching unions found that two-thirds of teachers knew of school staff providing pupils with food or money to prevent them going hungry.

The situation described by Goddard illustrates the spread of the issue to working parents in a town renowned relatively recently as the epitome of the prosperous and aspirational post-Thatcher working class.

More at:  Educating Essex school: ‘All of a sudden these kids are hungry’

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