Monday, 28 Nov 2022

Disadvantaged students at risk of falling behind as parents struggle to afford school costs

Disadvantaged students at risk of falling behind as parents struggle to afford school costs


Disadvantaged students at risk of falling behind as parents struggle to afford school costs

The cost-of-living crisis is having dire effects on school-age children, as parents struggle to afford uniforms, lunches and excursions, a report by the Smith Family has found.

Two-thirds of the almost 2,000 parents and carers supported by the organisation who were surveyed for the report had found it harder to afford what their children needed for school this year. Half the parents surveyed said the main reason was the increasing cost of petrol, groceries and rent.

Zahra, a mother of four and welfare recipient who migrated to Bankstown in Sydney from Lebanon last year, said the rising cost of bills and food, in addition to school costs, had caused her a lot of stress.

The Smith Family chief executive, Doug Taylor, said the additional challenge the cost of living had placed on children already experiencing disadvantage increased the risk of them falling behind or disengaging from school.

The Council of Single Mothers and their Children chief executive, Jenny Davidson, said similar concerns raised in the report have been expressed by her clients. She said one recently came to her in distress about the cost of her child starting primary school next year.

Teachers say they are increasingly concerned at how the cost of living is affecting their students.

One teacher at a high school on the NSW south coast said skyrocketing rent in the region was placing huge stress on his students, many of whom were still recovering from the disruption caused by the pandemic. He said some of his students had been sleeping in tents with their families.

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