Three-quarters of teachers hold toothbrushing sessions

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Most primary school teachers are running tooth brushing sessions every morning, because children tell them they don’t regularly brush their teeth at home.


The findings come from an online survey commissioned by, which received 2,369 responses from UK primary teachers.

The survey also found that 95 per cent of respondents are buying resources including toothpaste, toothbrushes and even sanitary products out of their own money for their pupils.

One in 20 of respondents said they had reported suspected cases of neglect to local authorities during their careers.

When asked why they stepped in to help children with basic care needs, a third (34 per cent) said it was because they worked at a school in a deprived or very deprived area, while a tenth (11 per cent) said it was due to neglect at home.

Key findings:

  • 95 per cent of primary teachers have bought resources, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, breakfast, and sanitary products
  • 74 per cent have tooth brushing sessions with children every morning
  • 60 per cent have had to personally deal with headlice, including buying treatment
  • 81 per cent provide children with breakfast because otherwise they would not eat it
  • 64 per cent brush pupils’ hair
  • 53 per cent carry snacks for pupils, and 22 per cent have bought a meal at lunchtime for a pupil

Richard Conway, founder of said, ‘We decided to survey some of our schools to understand what teachers have to do in their everyday work lives, and I have to say, they go above and beyond their duties as teachers.

‘An extraordinary number of teachers undertake these duties, including teachers using their own money for pupils to have the correct supplies for school work and ensuring their students eat at school.

‘Whatever the reason children haven’t had breakfast or brushed their teeth, it shouldn’t be up to a teacher to do these things.’

The findings follow a survey of 5,000 school support staff by the union GMB, published on Monday (1 October), which revealed that almost one in ten were bringing in food for children who would otherwise go hungry.

A National Education Union survey of teachers also found that more than nine in ten school staff are paying for items including stationery, books and even paper towels out of their own pockets.

The online platform allows parents to search for and connect with babysitters, childminders, nannies, nurseries and private tutors.

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