A new report has found that more than half of UK schools are facing a “biggest cut” since 2000.
The report, by the British Association for Schools and Colleges, is based on data from the National Education Statistics.
It found that 2.9 million children, or one in six, are now in poverty.
It said the number of children in poverty rose by 30 per cent between 2009 and 2021, while the cost of living rose by 1.2 per cent, the biggest rise since 2009.
The BAA’s report also found that 1.4 million children are now at risk of poverty over the next two years, with another 600,000 facing the prospect of being cut.
“The impact of this on children’s education is particularly significant because it can have long-term effects on their ability to access education,” the report said.
“If we do not take urgent action to tackle the structural challenges facing children’s attainment, they will not achieve their full potential.”
The report also showed that the proportion of children living in poverty has increased by 30.4 per cent since 2010, with a further 17 per cent being in poverty because of poverty.
The number of pupils in poverty in England and Wales was 16.7 per cent in 2021.
This is the highest level recorded since records began in the late 1970s.
In Scotland, the proportion in poverty stood at 23.1 per cent last year, with the lowest figures recorded since 1974.
Budget cuts have been blamed for a rise in homelessness.
Labour MP and chair of the Scottish National Party’s education committee, Joanna Cherry, said the Government must do more to tackle child poverty.
“In the absence of the budget the Government will be forced to do all it can to tackle this issue,” she said.
“We need to be prepared to invest in education, including on the frontline of tackling child poverty.”
Scotland has the highest proportion of pupils living in “absolute poverty” in the UK at 29.4.
This is up from 29.6 per cent a year ago.
Meanwhile, in Wales, the number in poverty is down from 29 per cent to 24.3 per cent.
It is also down from 24.9 per cent at the start of the school year in 2020 to 24 per cent now.
On the National Audit Office website, it is said that “children are better off” than ever.
There are currently more than 4.2 million pupils in “near-poverty” households, which means they are in receipt of an income from which they are unable to support themselves.
However, the BAA found that the number is only half of the number that were “in poverty” five years ago.
That number is now just over 4.5 million.
According to the BSA, the average annual income of a child living in a “near poverty” household in 2020 was £15,000, compared to £30,000 five years earlier.
Read more about education:The BAA report said: “Achieving the full and adequate opportunity for children to achieve their potential, and to live a life of full participation in the society they live in, is the key challenge of our age.
We have a lot to learn from the UK Government’s approach to education, but our current approach to addressing poverty is not working.”
BFA says that, if it is implemented, “this will mean that more children and their families will be able to access quality and affordable education, and will be better equipped to lead better lives for themselves and their children.”
It added: “Our report makes it clear that, while we are not able to predict how the impact of these reforms will be felt, the Government has taken concrete action in the right direction.”
Read the full report here