Third of primary school teachers ‘struggling to buy food’ as cost of living crisis sparks fears for education


In recent years, the cost of living crisis has cast its dark shadow over various segments of society, affecting families, workers, and businesses alike. Among the hardest-hit are our dedicated primary school teachers, who are on the frontline of nurturing the minds of our future generations. As the cost of living continues to rise, a shocking one-third of primary school teachers find themselves grappling with the heart-wrenching reality of struggling to put food on the table. This distressing trend has sent ripples of concern through the education sector, as the well-being of our educators directly impacts the quality of education they can provide to our children. In this article, we delve into the challenges faced by these unsung heroes and examine the potential ramifications for the future of education.

The Rising Cost of Living and Its Impact on Teachers:

The escalating cost of living, encompassing housing, healthcare, and basic necessities, has had a devastating effect on the financial stability of primary school teachers. These dedicated professionals, who play a pivotal role in shaping the young minds of tomorrow, are increasingly finding themselves facing financial hardship, struggling to make ends meet. Often, teachers bear the brunt of stagnant wages, high rents, and inflationary pressures, creating a perfect storm that endangers their ability to meet their most fundamental needs.

Stagnant Wages: A Vicious Cycle:

Many primary school teachers have seen their wages stagnate, failing to keep pace with the soaring cost of living. In some cases, these wages are barely enough to cover essential expenses, let alone allow for personal savings. Teachers, driven by passion and dedication, often soldier on despite financial difficulties, jeopardizing their own well-being in the process.

High Housing Costs: The Burden of Accommodation:

One of the most significant contributors to the cost of living crisis is the astronomical rise in housing costs. For teachers in metropolitan areas or regions experiencing housing booms, affording a decent place to live can be a nearly insurmountable challenge. The burden of accommodation costs weighs heavily on their shoulders, leaving them with little financial breathing room to cater to other essential needs.

Healthcare Expenses: A Looming Concern:

With healthcare costs consistently rising, teachers find it increasingly challenging to maintain their health and well-being. Comprehensive healthcare coverage often comes with high premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, further exacerbating the financial strain. Consequently, teachers may defer seeking medical attention, potentially leading to more significant health problems down the line.

Rising Education Costs: The Catch-22 Situation:

Paradoxically, as teachers grapple with their financial difficulties, they may also face the daunting reality of paying for their own professional development. Pursuing advanced degrees or attending workshops and training sessions often requires significant financial investment, leaving many teachers torn between improving their qualifications and alleviating immediate financial concerns.

Impact on Education Quality:

The adverse effects of the cost of living crisis on primary school teachers can have far-reaching consequences for the quality of education they provide. While these educators are champions at masking their personal struggles to ensure a nurturing environment for their students, the toll of financial stress may manifest in various ways.

  • Teacher Burnout and High Turnover Rates:

Financial hardship, coupled with the demands of teaching, may lead to burnout among primary school teachers. The stress of juggling work and personal finances can drain their enthusiasm and passion for the job, resulting in diminished effectiveness in the classroom. Furthermore, the financial strain may push some teachers to seek alternative career paths, contributing to high turnover rates in the education sector.

  • Reduced Engagement and Creativity

When burdened by financial worries, teachers may find it challenging to maintain their creativity and engagement in the classroom. Focused on their own struggles, they may have less time and energy to devise innovative teaching methods and cater to the diverse needs of their students.

  • Teacher-Student Relationship

Strong teacher-student relationships are vital for effective learning. Financial stress may inadvertently affect the ability of teachers to foster such connections with their students, potentially hindering the learning experience and emotional well-being of the children.

  • Impact on Academic Resources

With limited disposable income, teachers may face difficulties in purchasing additional academic resources or materials for their classrooms. This limitation could deprive students of valuable learning opportunities and interactive experiences, further affecting the quality of education.


The cost of living crisis has cast a long and dark shadow over our primary school teachers, who play a pivotal role in shaping the minds of future generations. With one-third of these dedicated educators struggling to buy food and facing financial hardship, the alarming implications for education cannot be overlooked. Stagnant wages, high housing costs, and rising healthcare expenses contribute to a catch-22 situation that jeopardizes the well-being of teachers and, consequently, the quality of education they can deliver.

As a society, it is imperative that we recognize the significance of supporting our teachers and ensuring they are adequately compensated for their crucial work. Initiatives to improve teacher wages, provide affordable housing options, and comprehensive healthcare coverage are essential steps in alleviating the burden on educators. Investing in the well-being of our teachers ultimately serves to secure a brighter future for our children and the generations to come. Only then can we cultivate an education system that empowers our educators and equips them to unlock the full potential of every young mind they encounter.

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