Should Charity Begin At School?

Headlines like these where teachers and headteachers are fighting for funding for their schools are common place in news outlets and have been for many years.

Examples such as this: ‘Teachers get school materials from charity shops’, certainly isn’t unheard of. Should charity really begin at school though or should teachers stop dipping into their own funds to bridge the funding gap? Let me know in the comments below! 

As an ESL and Modern Foreign Languages teacher, I have spent more than £3500 of my own money buying teaching materials over my 13-year teaching career so far. This equates to around a whopping £269/year – that’s a fair amount of money!

What have I spent my own money on for school?

I have purchased worksheets from TES and TPT to help my students. In addition, I have bought lamination pouches from WHSmiths – doesn’t my display look great though?!

Teachers, how much money do you spend annually on purchasing school supplies with your own money?Teaching subscriptions (TeachIt, Twinkl and Quizlet), as well as treats and prizes  (Haribo, stickers, pens and language pencils), stationery (Pritt Sticks, notebooks and pens) and teaching resources (mainly due to my Flying Tiger obsession!) for my classrooms and students. In my PGCE year, I remember spending £60+ on some French Teacher Stamps and German Inked Teacher Stamps for marking. I actually remember the Head of French telling me how dedicated I was!

From a TES survey done in 2017, it seems that I am not the only teacher spending my hard-earned cash on buying things for the classroom. In fact, 73 per cent of 1,800 teachers surveyed by TES and NEU Teaching Union, said that “they regularly purchased stationery items, such as pens, pencils, and board markers. Fifty-eight per cent had paid for books. And 43 per cent had paid for art materials.” 

How much do teachers spend of their own money on school supplies?

Teachers, How much have you spent annually on buying school supplies for your classrooms?

I was interested to see how much teachers spend. So, I ran a little Twitter poll, asking teachers how much money they spend annually on purchasing school supplies with their own money? The image shows the result of how much money teachers spend annually from their own funds on school supplies. I think it’s crazy that over 65% of participants have admitted to spending any of their own money, let alone up to £100 on school supplies.

The research undertaken by TES and NEU in 2017 revealed that some teachers feel that: “I need resources to create the ‘wow’ factor for my lessons…and there is so much pressure on us not to spend the school budget.” Whilst my reason for spending my own money differs from teachers who feel the need to create the ‘wow’ factor, I certainly feel it was due to the fact that there was no budget.

formidable classroom stamp frenchThis is a very unfair reality. Laminating useful words and phrases and having them on show for students to use and become familiar with really did help my students in lessons. I feel that having a cute little stamp to offer feedback helped to build vocabulary too.

Coming To My Senses

Despite this (thankfully), in 2019, after 10 years of teaching, I came to my senses! I consciously decided not to spend my own money any longer and work with what I have to promote learning in my lessons. My students still learn and progress during lesson time is still very good. This doesn’t mean that I now spend my money on frivolous things though; instead, I donate a percentage of what I would have spent on school resources to charity and keep the rest to spend on my family and friends, as it should be! 

If this resonates with you, please stop using your own money on buying school resources, stationery, or subscriptions. It’s not your job! 

Donate The Money Instead?

However, if you would like to donate a percentage of your funds to a charity instead, perhaps consider donating to the Sadikbanu Welfare Trust. A charity set up by my uncle to raise funds for a school in Hoima, Uganda (where he is originally from). 

Your £5 donation will enable us to buy 10 books
Your £10 donation will enable us to buy 3 Geometry sets
Your £25 donation will enable us to buy lunch for 33 children for one day
Your £50 donation will go a long way to enable us to build the latrines 

Here’s the Crowdfunder page which will give you more information and allow you to donate should you wish: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/sadikbanuwelfaretrust-help-a-child  

Thanks in advance on his behalf if you do have the opportunity to donate. 


Exclusive: Teachers are spending hundreds of pounds a year on classroom supplies (2017):  https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/exclusive-teachers-are-spending-hundreds-pounds-year-classroom-supplies  



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