Hard-up teachers 'living in sheds and cars'

Number of teachers seeking housing support soars by two-thirds in two years

Amy Gibbons

Stressed teacher

Hundreds of teachers are relying on emergency cash handouts as they struggle to make ends meet, according to a charity dedicated to supporting the education workforce.

Figures from the Education Support Partnership, seen by The Independent, show that the number of teachers applying for housing support rose by 67 per cent between 2016 and 2018.

And the number of desperate cases is expected to reach new heights this year.

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The Independent reports that some teachers have resorted to living in sheds and cars and eating out of food banks in an effort to stay afloat.

The newspaper spoke to one teacher who lived in a friend's shed with her 10-year-old daughter because she was unable to find affordable housing.

Sharon, who moved from Spain to work at a school in Dorset, said she was forced to take refuge in the shed for seven months after struggling to get money together for a deposit.

“I had no money and no savings and had no furniture. I didn’t have a deposit to rent. It was horrendous,” she said

“It was cold. I couldn’t cook for myself and washing was quite difficult. Just having to do basic things was really challenging. 

“My daughter had Sats exams going on at the time. It was a nightmare. I am surprised she passed anything because she was so stressed.

“We just didn’t have any space from each other. There was no room for a desk.”

She added: “It caused a great deal of anxiety and I felt like I had completely failed as a mother.”

The Education Support Partnership said it received 832 applications for housing grants from teachers in 2018, compared with 661 in 2017 and 498 in 2016. 

And it has reportedly received a further 648 applications so far this year.

Richard Faulkner of the Education Support Partnership told Tes that the situation is "particularly tough" for teaching assistants and support staff.

“We are in the midst of a housing crisis and teachers and teaching assistants are unfortunately not immune to this,” he said.

“Housing costs can take up to 70 to 80 per cent of teachers' take-home pay in London and the South East.

“Since 2016 we have seen a 67 per cent increase in applications relating to housing, and that the cost of living has become unmanageable for many school staff.

“For support staff and teaching assistants, it is particularly tough.”

The government recently pledged to increase salaries for new teachers to £30,000 by 2022-23. 

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said: “The increase would make starting salaries for teachers among the most competitive in the graduate labour market, building on the above-inflation average pay increases for teachers in the last two years.”

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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