The Cost of Living Crisis and The Effect on Academics
The cost-of-living crisis. Where the price of basic and essential items, like energy bills and food, has risen so drastically that it has surpassed the average household wage. Affecting everyone in the UK, many families are forced to make impossible decisions, between heating, food and children’s education, none of these things should fall on the back burner.
“I am very worried about the next few months. (My son) looks at the electric meter and keeps telling me how much we’ve used.” -The Sun
What categories are being affected by the cost-of-living crisis?
1. Housing Costs- The costs of housing and rent, as well as other services in that sector, have risen by 7.2%. Gas and electricity have had a 12% increase, and inflation rates for electricity were at 19.2% and 28.3% for gas. Rental prices were also up 2.3% and costs for those living in their own home rose by 2.5%. From Cornwall Insight, there have been comments made that energy bills are predicted to reach over £4,200 per year since January 2022.
2. Fuel- According to the Office for National Statistics, this category has seen the biggest jump in inflation rates. This category is also a contributing factor to the increase in inflation rates. Transport costs have been seen to increase 11.5% in the past year to this February. Since February, prices have risen from £1.47 per litre for petrol to £1.67 and diesel shooting from £1.52 per litre to £1.79. This is mainly due to the sanctions placed on Russian oil following the attack on Ukraine. Not only this but during the pandemic, people were encouraged to search for alternative means of travel, to avoid using public transport, in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus.
3. Clothes- Since the pandemic, clothes and footwear have been reported to have risen by 8.9%. It was seen that last February prices were considerably lower than usual, as England had entered its third lockdown, forcing non-essential retail shops to close. With other restrictions placed elsewhere in the UK.
4. Food and Drink- Sky news has reported that food and beverages have also seen a significant increase.
• coffee, tea and hot chocolate: 7.5%
• oils and fats: 6.7%
• fruit: 6.2%
• bottled water, soft drinks and juices: up 6.1%
• milk, cheese and eggs: 6.1%
• meat: 5.2%
• bread and cereals: 4.9%
• vegetables: 4.2%
• fish: 3.2%
• sugar, jam, syrups and sweets: 3.5%
5. Furniture and Home Goods- Another category that has seen a drastic price increase. With the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine adding to the cost of living crisis, the price of manufacturing materials, such as timber, has seen a cost increase. Furniture prices have gone up by 17%, “Timber is a key raw material and a lot of it comes out of eastern European forests, particularly birch and beech.”-The Guardian
And who will be affected by these increases?
As you have seen, with the cost of household essentials increasing, parents/guardians have little to spare when it comes to their children’s education. Between paying for housing, fuel etc. many are having to treat school uniforms as almost a luxury item, as they have to pay for basic essentials to survive. And in coming into winter, turning on the heating many have to treat as another luxury expense. Heating should not be seen as a luxury. So, with all these costs building up, ensuring their child is succeeding academically, either by driving their child to school or even through after-school clubs or tutors, just becomes impossible to keep up with.
“(The) school can no longer afford textbooks, and there have been reports of schools considering a shorter week or a shorter teaching day in order to cut costs.” – Headteacher of an Essex School
Schools and other Institutions
Not only are families being affected by this sudden inflation, but schools are also facing a massive increase spike in their energy bills. From state schools not being able to afford textbooks to other schools having to consider a shorter week, it’s almost certain that the grade gap between private schools and state schools will only get bigger. This means that many students out there will soon be unable to reach their full potential, simply because their school no longer has the facilities to support growth and development.
Now, for parents with children coming into Year 10/11, we’re all aware that GCSEs are coming. They help secure a place at a 6th form or College. Achieving good grades in the core subjects at GCSE is imperative, as it allows students flexibility in their decision of choosing A-Level subjects. Bad grades in those same subjects mean they have to take them on at A-Level, restricting a student’s selection of courses. But with the distractions of home life and schools no longer able to properly support the students, these bad grades are at risk of becoming more common.
For those concerned about their children’s academics, I would advise you to take a look at Neon-Edu’s news initiative, Aspire2Achieve.
This initiative is driven to help families during this difficult time by creating affordable further learning opportunities that will guarantee improvement to ensure success in a student’s career. They are doing this by targeting families on Universal Credit and offering a discount between 50%-80% off their subscription packages. Find more information about this initiative here. For those looking for financial aid, please click here to go to gov.uk.
“At times it can feel like families are penalised by the system for being poor. Families might receive social housing and benefits but find that it’s not enough and they get further penalised when they get into debt. They might not be able to get their kids to school because they’re in the wrong area for local authority support and can’t afford fuel and transport. That parent then ends up having to go to court and pay court costs they can’t afford. We’ve had situations where a child steals food at school and gets penalised for doing so… It can end up sounding like we’re talking about children in Dickensian times… It’s crazy and heart breaking”. –Family Action
If you’re interested in pursuing a better world for your children and others, please take a look at some charities listed below:
Let’s all support each other during these times.