Exclusive: Number of teachers on brink of homelessness doubles in 4 years

Teachers also turning to food banks as unions says ‘poverty is making a tough job even harder’

double number of teachers at risk of homelessness

The number of teachers and school support staff applying for emergency charity grants to prevent them being made homeless in the wake of growing housing costs has more than doubled in the last five years, Tes can reveal.

The Education Support Partnership says it is having increasing difficulty coping with the rise in calls for help from teachers and TAs facing temporary accommodation or homelessness if they don’t receive help with rent or mortgage arrears or deposits.

They include a PE teacher in London, who does not wish to be named, who is having to use a food bank and was helped with an emergency grant to cover her mortgage after her marriage broke down following her husband’s alcoholism.

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Another teacher, also in London, has been helped to pay rent arrears after she resigned from a full-time teaching role to care for her step-father with cancer, hoping she could survive on supply work - but got very little work and ended up being served notice by her landlord.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “It is very clear anecdotally that growing housing costs have been a dominant factor in financial crises for families and individuals in more recent times.

“Whilst we are managing to award many more grants, we are doing ‘more with less,’ prioritising those in the highest need - as our ability to cope with the increasing demand becomes more difficult. This is despite our currently being the largest teacher benevolent fund in the UK. “

According to figures, the charity made a total of 110 grant awards relating to housing costs in 2014, but by 2018 the number had risen to 246.

The number of total emergency grants for financial assistance rose in the same period from 322 to 834, says the charity which is solely funded on donations from teachers and retired teachers. 

Mary Bousted, joint-general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said teacher pay had declined by more than 10 per cent in real terms since 2010 and said the union had also heard stories of teachers using food banks.

She said: “If teachers are having to use food banks I’m not surprised they can’t afford housing costs. You really can’t expect people to do a job that is both mentally and physically exhausting and to live in poverty as well. It makes a bad situation even worse.”

Dr Bousted called for the government to make a “step change” over teacher pay, and called for the government to regulate the “grotesque” salaries of academy trust chief executives.

If you can make a donation to the charity please visit here.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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