Focus Ireland and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) have jointly produced a resource for primary school staff who support students and families experiencing homelessness.
The document aims to highlight the impact homelessness has on children’s education. It also outlines steps that schools can take to help alleviate the stress and practical difficulties that homeless children experience.
Fórsa’s head of education, Andy Pike, commended the publication, saying it’s not just relevant for teachers and principals.
“SNAs and school secretaries have a close, personal bond with students and their families, which means they are often the first to learn that a child is experiencing homelessness. This resource is an important tool for all school staff to help them ensure children get the best possible education and are supported at a personal level,” he said.
Child homelessness has increased by nearly 400% in the last five years according to Focus Ireland. There are currently over 3,770 children experiencing homelessness.
INTO president Feargal Brougham said he did not foresee the need to produce a document like this when he first qualified as a teacher 30 years ago. “The idea that almost 4,000 children would be homeless was an alien one decades ago. It is a repugnant reality today,” he said.
Practical tips in the document include making nutritious snacks available in the school, particularly if there is no access to breakfast clubs or school meals.
Providing extra opportunities for physical activity is also suggested to help alleviate the impact of not having access to recreational facilities after school.
For more information, see the full report HERE.