Nearly two-thirds of primary school teachers in the Netherlands have students who live in poverty. According to a survey by DUO Educational Research & Advice among 700 primary school teachers, more than half of the teachers reported that poverty influences the children’s learning performance.

AD reports 1 in 5 teachers discontinued classroom ‘circle discussions’ because they found it “too painful” to hear that some students do nothing on the weekends and holidays. A report published Monday by the Centraal Bureau for Statistics (CBS) reveals that “54% of families with minor children said they could not go on holiday for a week every year…Low-income families also often indicated that there was not enough money to regularly buy new clothes or to purchase a PC, laptop or tablet.”

AD explains that “Poverty has much more influence than just the question of what things are in the house and whether there is food to eat. Children say it is difficult to concentrate at school because they have a lot of stress at home.”

Marieke Hamburg, director of De Vijf Hoeven in Tilburg tells AD, “We really have families who live in a one-room apartment with 9 people. These families are not busy practicing tables or reading. They are busy surviving.”

DUO found that on average, each Dutch primary classroom has two children living in poverty – meaning “Their parents have an income that is just above the social assistance standard.” CBS reports 8.1% of all underage children in the Netherlands were at risk of poverty last year.