Are Schoolkids Equipped to Learn?

It’s that time of the year again. From funky pencil cases to slick maths sets, we’ll soon be loading up on shiny new stationery for the annual back-to-school shop.

For many parents, this yearly haul can end up as just another task on an endless to-do list, rather than the exciting ritual for kids (who doesn’t love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, right out of the box?). In a previous survey by Staples, we found that parents in the UK were, in fact, feeling the pressure in the lead up to the new school year.

It’s not just parents; teachers are also sharing the load. Our new Staples Equipped to Learn report shows almost two-thirds (63%) of teachers in the UK are feeling pressured to dip into their own pockets for basic supplies, with a whopping 73% of children turning up to school ill-equipped for lessons.

How much are teachers spending?

Nearly a third (30%) of the 500 teachers we asked said they typically spend between £41 and £80 on equipment children are required to bring to school. One in five of those surveyed said they spend up to £100 on classroom supplies. Those more likely to foot the bill were teachers of younger children, primarily those between the ages of nine and ten.

What can be done to change the situation?

The Staples Equipped to Learn report shows that there’s a real pressure on teachers to spend their own money on school supplies. We asked them how they thought the situation could be changed - the majority (63%) emphasising the importance of encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their own equipment. Almost 60% believed engaging parents was another key factor.

Whether this is a simple task in the long run is questionable, as just under half of the teachers surveyed believe the amount of supplies parents need to buy is increasing, with 58% expecting spending to go up. But if we highlight the importance of a fully-stocked pencil case now, we’re already a step ahead.

Download the full Equipped to Learn report here.