League table pressures restricting charity work in schools

9 May 2013

Teachers think that charity work in secondary schools is being squeezed as schools face increasing pressure to perform in league tables, according to new research.

A survey released by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which promotes charitable giving and provides financial services and social finance to not-for-profit organisations, shows that secondary school teachers find it difficult to spend more time working with charities due to the exacting demands of the National Curriculum.


Over two thirds (67%) of teachers polled find the pressures of league tables make it harder for schools to educate students about charities and issues in society. Crowded school timetables (57%) and the focus on exams (54%) were also identified as key barriers.

Yet the value to pupils both in terms of their academic performance and personal development is clear and they may be missing out on more than just the opportunity to support charities. More than half (57%) of teachers believe getting children to work with charities boosts their schools’ attainment, while 95% see fundraising as a great way to motivate students and 98% believe it is a great way to teach young people social skills.

The benefits of working with charities mean that most teachers would like to spend more time teaching their classes about charity and issues in society (72% of teachers polled), but the curriculum and league table pressures make further engagement with charities less of a priority.

77% of teachers think more can be done to help schools and charities work together and an overwhelming majority (95%) believe schools have an important role in educating young people about charity and the wider society.

ComRes interviewed 200 secondary school teachers in an online survey commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The survey forms part of a major inquiry into the generational gap in giving, chaired by former Cabinet Minister David Blunkett. CAF has launched a parliamentary inquiry to look at how we can narrow the generation gap in giving and the reliance of the charity sector on donations from the over 60's. The Parliamentary Inquiry on Growing Giving will look at how to get people of all ages involved with charities.

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “Young people thrive when they are encouraged to work with charities through their schools. Raising money and working to support charities boosts student motivation and social skills and can also have a positive impact on their academic work.

“It’s heartening to see the enthusiasm teachers have for working with charities, but it is important to recognise the benefits both socially and academically that our young people gain from working with and learning about charities.

"Schools do a great job supporting charities and there can be no doubt that young people are very generous. But it's also important that teachers are given the support they need to incorporate charity work into busy school life and nurture the natural desire of young people to help others.”

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