A study has revealed that 92% of teachers surveyed say they’ve had to spend their own money – in some cases more than $1,000 per year – on essential classroom materials.
The survey of 230 primary school teachers was conducted by professional educators, Education Changemakers, and Australian stationery brand Yoobi.
The top five items that teachers are using their own money to buy are pencils, pens, sharpeners, scissors, pencil cases and exercise books.
The worrying statistic comes after figures were released by the Australian Council Of Social Service (ACOSS) Poverty Report 2016, revealing that 731,300 children under the age of 15 are living below the poverty line.
Federal President of the Australian Education Union (AEU), Correna Haythorpe, said she “couldn’t think of a single teacher who had not spent their own money to make sure their lessons and classes have been able to function at a high level”.
Haythorpe added that as the Federal Government continues to debate the future of Gonski funding, public schools are $3.9bn worse off.
P&Cs to the rescue?
The funding shortage being experienced by some schools is being filled by Parents and Citizens (P&C) groups, who are asking parents for a voluntary cash donation per child to raise money for school needs.
However, NSW Primary Principals Association (NSWPPA) president, Geoff Scott, told The Educator that while some P&Cs were wealthy due to the high-disposable income of some families, others were left disadvantaged in the absence of Gonski funding.
“As in every other aspect of Australian life these costs nearly always rise and rarely fall. Public school principals spend much time, energy and resources on trying to ensure that no child is disadvantaged because of family circumstances,” he said.
Scott added that as long as cash-strapped schools continued turning to wealthy P&Cs for more resources while other schools remained under-resourced, the disadvantage gap would only widen.
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