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19 November, 2020 Open access

Almost three-quarters of teachers report that COVID-19 pandemic has had more negative impact on homeless children than children in suitable accommodation

Shelter warns that survey results are a warning that homeless children must not become the invisible victims of the coronavirus pandemic

Almost three-quarters of teachers report that homeless children have had their education more negatively affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic than children in suitable housing.

Results from two surveys of teachers this year by Shelter show that in the last three years more than half of state school teachers in Britain (56 per cent) have worked at a school with children who were homeless or became homeless. The first survey of the two surveys - of more than 1,500 teachers and carried out pre-COVID-19 in early March 2020 - found that -

To understand the impact of the pandemic on the education of homeless children and those trapped in bad housing, Shelter carried out a follow-up survey with more than 1,000 teachers in October 2020, which found that almost three quarters (73 per cent) said that children who are experiencing homelessness or living in bad housing have had their education more negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than other children at their school.

Commenting on the findings, chief executive of Shelter Polly Neate said -

‘Without a safe and secure home, a child’s life chances can be deeply disrupted. This is a national scandal - and without action, the extra harm being done to homeless children as a result of the pandemic may never be undone. Homeless children must not be the invisible victims of this crisis.

We still don’t know what the long-term impact of the pandemic will be on this generation of children. But for now, Shelter is here to support and give hope to the families who need us the most. With the public’s support we will do all we can to make sure every child has a safe and secure home - this winter and beyond.'

For more information, see Homeless at school: 56 per cent of teachers have worked with homeless children from shelter.org.uk