Kids write school homework on toilet paper and go without pens as desperate parents struggle for food
CHILDREN are writing school homework on toilet paper and going without pens as some parents struggle to provide food in lockdown.
Teachers across the UK have revealed many children do not have the most basic resources like pens and paper to allow them to study from home.
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In a devastating account of the resources some children lack, a teacher in Wales said pupils are doing homework on sheets of toilet paper due to a lack of materials at home, The Mirror reports.
Another teacher, Sarah Kilpatrick, 37, from Gateshead told the paper: “The major issue is the inequality of resources children have.
“Trying to set tasks that everyone can access has been a huge struggle.”
Ms Kilpatrick is encouraging students to mix instant coffee granules with water and to use cotton buds as paint brushes while using the back of envelopes and flyers as paper.
And a London primary school teacher revealed some parents of pupils from her school are being forced to choose between paying for food or buying school books.
Ellie Sharpe from Croydon, south London, said many parents were having to make difficult decisions over learning supplies.
Ms Sharpe said: “Within my class, I would say a third don't have sufficient resources. They have less than their peers.
“Buying food will always come first but they should not have to make that choice.”
Some children in England are using mobile phones to access lessons – but many do not have laptops to support their studies.
Teacher Cassie, 42, from Wolverhampton, described the challenges many of her pupils were facing.
She told The Mirror: “There are six children. They share a bedroom.
“They have no desk to work, no door on the room.
“They have no access to paper or a printer and are using their phones to access the classes virtually."
At the beginning of January, Gavin Williamson said that kids who didn’t have access to digital devices were allowed to come in to learn in classrooms.
Mr Williamson said children were described as "vulnerable" if they didn't have access to a laptop, or had no space to study properly at their own home.
Around one million kids are expected to be in this category.
The government supplied over 560,000 devices to schools to support remote education in 2020.
Officials have now pledged over one million devices will reach schools, colleges and councils, to “ensure students have access to high-quality remote education if they need it”.
The news comes as Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield warned there is a “real danger” schools could remain closed until the summer over a “lack of planning”.
Ms Longfield urged ministers to “think creatively” about how to get youngsters back in class and must "make something happen" soon.
She warned: "Everyone recognises the necessity of reopening schools as soon as possible, but hope alone will not make it happen.
"What is lacking is a clear roadmap towards this. There is a real danger that schools will remain closed until Easter at the earliest, or even into the summer."
She then added: "Not because the virus makes this inevitable, but because of a lack of planning."
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