More Teachers are Paying for School Books in Special Needs Schools

Half of all British teachers spend their own money on school books and one in three is spending £50 a year, according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). Gwenlian Evans, deputy general secretary of the ATL, said teachers had been forced to cover for shortages as curriculum demands increased this year. ”Teachers are spending more and more of their own money on books, bringing in old copies from home and shopping in jumble sales.

A study by Ofsted, the independent education watchdog, found more than a quarter of secondary schools had too few books to meet the new A-level requirements. The Publishers Association said that primary and secondary school spending on books in Britain was £12 and £23 a year per pupil respectively, the lowest in a study of eight western countries.

Teachers and special needs education groups have welcomed the relaunch of the Books for Schools campaign, which is being run by The Sunday Times and other News International newspapers, to help deal with the shortage. Under the scheme, joined by 90% of schools in Britain last year, tokens from NI newspapers and Walkers crisps are collected in order to “buy” books. The cheapest books cost 50 tokens, the most expensive 500.

Results last year showed that special needs schools worked the hardest to collect tokens. The National Association for Special Educational Needs (Nasen) said demand for books had increased by more than a third.