Manchester City Council has set up a brand new £50,000 welfare fund for schools to help them provide children in need in their schools with food and clothing.
The new fund has been set up in direct response to discussions with schools who have told the council how they regularly provide children in their schools with food and clothing.
Schools say they are concerned about the impact national changes in welfare reforms appear to be having on the families of their pupils, and say these changes mean they find themselves having to dip into school funds to provide their pupils with the basics more and more frequently since the changes came in.
As a result of the discussions with schools the Council’s Executive has made the decision to allocate £50,000 into a special welfare fund for schools to offset these costs.
A share of the funding will be made available to every school in the city, so that schools can use the funding at their discretion to support those children who are experiencing the impact of extreme poverty.
All schools will be allocated a lump sum of at least £200 in April with some schools getting more than this depending on the number of pupils they have who are eligible for free schools meals.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said: “We’ve been increasingly concerned to hear from schools how they are having to support their poorest pupils and families, who are really struggling to make ends meet as a result of recent welfare reforms.
“We’re very clear that the job of schools is to teach children and help them achieve their full potential, and not to feed and clothe them. But at the same time however there is no way a child is going to learn or achieve if they’re going hungry or can’t afford a pair of new shoes.
“We recognise that too often our schools are going above and beyond what should be expected of them in this and wanted to do what we can to help them, as they help some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the city at their schools who are suffering the effects of extreme poverty.”