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Commenting on the announcement of the creation of a new Poverty and Inequality Commission by the Scottish Government, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, The Teachers’ Union, said:
 
“The NASUWT welcomes the focus of increased resources on addressing child poverty. Poverty is a key inhibitor of children’s ability to achieve and progress at school.
 
“The latest NASUWT research indicates that 71% of teachers in Scotland have seen pupils coming to school hungry, 81% have seen pupils who do not have the correct equipment for lessons and 79% have seen pupils who are lacking in energy and concentration due to eating poorly.
 
“Action is needed to address the growing evidence that children are being denied access to educational opportunities on the basis of their parents’ ability to pay. Too many families are now crushed by poverty and cannot afford school items and activities such as books, equipment, educational visits.
 
“It is children’s ability, not affordability, which should drive their educational opportunities.”
 
Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
“If children are in insecure or poor quality housing, do not have enough to eat or are anxious about their families’ finances they will not be able to learn or achieve their best at school.  Addressing these issues will require a comprehensive strategy to address all of the social and economic factors which conspire to leave children and young people in poverty.
“The NASUWT stands ready to work with the Commission in supporting this vital work to ensure that children’s life chances do not continue to be derailed by poverty.”

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