More than four fifths of teachers admit they provide breakfast and clean pupils’ teeth out of their own pockets

Teachers are known for going above and beyond in their job, but we were shocked to find out that more than four fifths (81%) of primary school teachers admit to providing breakfast for pupils because otherwise they don’t eat it.

We surveyed more than 2,000 UK primary school teachers and discovered that nearly three quarters (74%) also have teeth brushing sessions every morning, after children revealed they don’t brush their teeth regularly at home.

More than half (64%) admit that they brush pupils’ hair in the morning and a quarter (25%) of the 2,369 teachers surveyed now feel that this is the norm and it is their duty to do it.

Two thirds (69%) have had to personally deal with headlice, including buying treatment, and a tenth (9%) have had to push parents to make doctors’ appointments for their child.

Ninety-five percent admitted to buying resources including toothpaste, toothbrushes, breakfast food, and even sanitary products out of their own money for their pupils.

More than half (53%) ensure they have snacks available in case children come into school without lunch, while a fifth (22%) have bought a meal at lunchtime for pupils.

Less than half (45%) have had to buy stationary and books for their pupils and a fifth (23%) have bought an item of school uniform, either for a specific child or as a spare for their classroom. Two thirds (58%) have had to buy sanitary products for pupils.

When asked why they found themselves stepping in on basic care needs, a third (34%) said it was because they worked at a school in a deprived or very deprived area, while a tenth (11%) believed it was due to neglect at home.

One in 20 primary school teachers surveyed said they had been forced to report suspected cases of neglect to local authorities during their career.

Richard Conway, founder of said,

“We decided to survey some of our schools to understand what teachers have to do in their everyday work lives, and I have to say, they go above and beyond their duties as teachers.

“An extraordinary number of teachers undertake these duties, including teachers using their own money for pupils to have the correct supplies for school work and ensuring their students eat at school.

“Whatever the reason children haven’t had breakfast or brushed their teeth, it shouldn’t be up to a teacher to do these things.”

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