Charity and teachers' body produce guidelines for supporting homeless schoolchildren

Charity and teachers' body produce guidelines for supporting homeless schoolchildren

Focus Ireland and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) have produced a new guidance resource for primary school teachers and principals who are supporting students and families who are homeless or at risk.

It aims to highlight the reality of homelessness and its impact on children’s education as well as offering some practical suggestions about how schools can support pupils.

The most recent figures issued by the Dept of Housing show that 3,778 children are currently homeless which is a jump of more than 400% in just five years.

The latest regional figures also show that the crisis has now sadly spread nationwide with more than 500 families and 1,000 children now homeless outside of Dublin.

A recent survey by the Irish Primary Principals’ Network found that more than one in four primary schools have children who are homeless and suffering from anxiety, poor self-esteem and exhaustion.

A survey of more than 1,000 school principals found that 27% of primary schools have homeless children.

“As a newly qualified teacher working here 30 years ago, I could never have foreseen that one day I would be launching a resource on primary school children’s homelessness,” said INTO president, Feargal Brougham.

“The idea that almost 4,000 children would be homeless was an alien one decades ago, it is a repugnant reality today.“

Speaking about the resource and its wider impact, Focus Ireland director of advocacy, Mike Allen, said: “This resource will be of great assistance to teachers and principals in primary schools nationwide who are working to help many children and families who are facing homelessness.

"The damage it is causing to our children was again highlighted last week as over 2,250 children who are homeless went back to school."

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