Striking teacher spends £500 from her own pocket on school supplies

SWNS reporter
Wednesday 01 February 2023 10:05 GMT
(Tom Wren SWNS)

A striking teacher said she’s forced to spend £500 a year from her own pocket on kit for her pupils - and her class is currently sharing four gluesticks.

Emily Plummer, 26, is a year two teacher of four years from Kingswood, south Gloucestershire.

Speaking outside Filton Avenue Primary School, in Bristol, today (1) she said her school has ONE teaching assistant covering four classes.

The teacher said she’s “walking around constantly [..] trying to meet everyone’s needs” leaving kids asking for help she doesn’t have time to properly give.

She said: “My class has a part time teaching assistant and I have a high level of need - 26 kids and it’s just me as she only works mornings.

“That means I’m rushing around trying to sort different worksheets - I’ve got to plan four different worksheets [per lesson].

“That means in the afternoons especially I’m walking around constantly in an hour lesson trying to meet the needs of everyone.

“The children are looking at me saying they need help or they don’t understand and it means our lessons are really rushed - there’s no time to just to rest and reflect on what we’re learning.

“It has a direct impact on the children. If I’m spending all my time with the SEND kids then the other kids are left to their own devices with their learning.

“There should be a full time TA with each class.

“There are four classes in year two. The fact that because of the learning we’ve got one teaching assistant working across all four classes, and they’re rushed off their feet to do handwriting intervention with this group and maths with this group and they don’t have time because the school can’t pay for anyone else. They can’t afford it.

“It’s all areas - the school has no resources. You put a request in for resources and you have to think, ‘can you even do this activity’? You have to change plan.

“I think I’ve got four gluesticks in my classroom, so it’s about ‘pass me, share’.”

(Tom Wren SWNS)

She joked: “It’s good for ‘sharing skills’ but more often than not I’ll buy it myself.

“At the start of every year I’ll buy the table displays myself.

“By the time it gets through the funding, the school can’t afford to buy pen pots and book holders, so I just think ‘I’d much rather you prioritise pencils for the children to write with rather than pen pots that I can just go to Ikea and buy’.

“I’m very lucky as I’ve just trained and don’t have children.

“I’m spending £400 to £500 just on my class and that’s coming out of my pocket - just on my own, out of my wages.

“I don’t care because I love my job.

“I always tell the children that it doesn’t matter as long as they can learn.

(Tom Wren SWNS)

“It’s not about how much I can get paid - I became a teacher because I love this job - but I can see why so many people leave the job. It’s just not viable.

“Right now I’m at a point where I can afford this, but I can see down the line where I wouldn’t be able to afford this.

“This wage isn’t sustainable with food and energy getting dearer and dearer.

“It’s just not sustainable especially when you’re spending your money on your school anyway, just in your daily job.”

Asked what her message to the government would be, she said: “They go on about how valuable education is and how priceless it is - if it’s so priceless why aren’t you spending more money?

“If you value it, fund it. If you want it to be the best education system in the world, you need to put money in it because we need money to keep going.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in