I’m A Teacher & I’m The Most Stressed I’ve Ever Been

Illustrated by Assa Ariyoshi.
Teaching may have its rewards but it has never been without its stresses. In today’s climate, though – after years of squeezed budgets, rising workloads and increasing pressures – teachers are facing record levels of stress. A new study from the Nuffield Foundation has found that one in 20 teachers now report mental health issues lasting (or likely to last) 12 months or more. And the charity Education Support last year warned that teachers are being pushed to breaking point, with more than half of education professionals who have experienced health and emotional pressures saying they've considered leaving the sector in the past two years. Workload and not feeling valued were the two major reasons cited. 
Critics have hit back at the government’s pre-election pledge to invest an extra £7.1bn in schools across England over the next three years, claiming that four in five state schools in the country will be financially worse off next year than they were four years ago.
How do these bureaucratic decisions, spending plans and cuts to local services affect those on the front line of education? In a callout for stories from young teachers – the future of the education profession – we’ve been struck by the responses and the levels of stress, anxiety and exasperation highlighted. 
A survey by teachers union NASUWT found that one in five teachers spend their own money on lesson resources, with more than half stating it’s due to funding pressures on their school. This issue cropped up in the majority of the teachers’ accounts here, from providing their own pens, books and stickers to having to fund spare underwear, sanitary products and food for hungry children. Lack of funding, long hours, miles of red tape and rigid attainment indicators are among the other issues flagged in these accounts. 
Here’s what six young teachers in schools across England have to say about the day-to-day struggles in their classrooms. 

One classroom I arrived at didn’t have a single book in the reading corner.

Kate*, 30, teaches at a primary school in northwest England
I’ve been teaching for six years and have taught years two and three. I quite often feel stressed out by my work. There is just so much to do and not enough time to do it. With a class of 30, I typically mark 120 books a day and it isn't a case of job done when the kids finish at 3.30pm. When I get home I see my own child, have tea and then start work all over again to prepare for the next day. If I didn't have the support of my family and friends I don’t know how I'd cope.
Funding is a massive part of day-to-day teaching and the support available to the pupils. I remember when I was a newly qualified teacher and the headmaster announced how relieved they were that a teaching assistant had handed their notice in because they needed to care for a sick relative. Otherwise they would have had to make someone redundant as the school couldn’t afford the teaching assistants, who were already few and far between. I’ve only known one new teaching assistant to be hired, and that was only because a child with additional needs was granted funding – even then it wasn’t full-time.
Everyone I know buys stuff for their classrooms and spends about a week in the summer holidays decorating them ready for the new class. It's just what you do. Glue sticks are like gold dust in schools. I once saw a joke on a mums' Facebook page that said 'stuck for what to buy your kid’s teacher for Christmas this year?' and it was a box of Pritt Sticks. I think everyone just assumes teachers buy stuff when it runs out because the school can’t afford it but that doesn't make it okay. 
Now I have kids of my own I don’t have the spare cash like I used to. If I'd see things in the sale at craft shops, I'd pick them up to use in the classroom. Or if stickers were on offer and I knew a child in my class would like them for the craft area, I wouldn't think twice about buying them. I remember one classroom I arrived at didn’t have a single book in the reading corner as the previous teacher had purchased them all herself and took them with her when she left.
There seem to be more children with special educational needs in mainstream schools who may perhaps have gone to a special needs school previously, and it can be very difficult to meet their needs, and those of the rest of the class, without additional support. There are also so many children now who need support with mental health or face challenges at home. We don't have a dedicated pastoral officer but I know of many schools that do. 
I always keep spare snacks in my cupboard just in case. One teacher I know used to take home and wash a child’s PE kit at the end of every half-term because they knew if they didn't, it would never come back. They also bought a pair of trainers for the child as they only owned school shoes.
Every day is different and I do really enjoy my job. Sometimes it feels like every day is a challenge, but for now I wouldn't leave it. I love doing investigations with the children and finding out what they think about things. I love seeing their reactions when they find out how something works. 
I do worry about the future though, and the fact that it means I will never be able to take my own children to school, go to their sports days or to their assemblies. I know people talk about the amount of holiday teachers get, but honestly you end up spending it either making resources for the next term’s topics, analysing data, writing reports or just resting because you're exhausted from the 7am starts, 6pm finishes, marking books and planning 'til gone 11pm. We’ve had staff meetings about wellbeing but trying to find a work-life balance isn’t easy when so much of the work comes home with you. 
I think those in charge of decisions about teaching and schools should have to spend some time in the classroom, whether that be volunteering as a teaching assistant or doing some supply work. I feel like they don’t have a clue about what it’s really like. Boris Johnson has announced £10 million funding for Ofsted to 'drive up school standards' but longer, unannounced inspections won’t make schools better. Putting more support into classrooms and better funding schools would surely achieve that. It would improve resources, the technology available and give pupils more opportunities.
I read an article about it being immoral for teachers to want to work part-time which I don’t think is fair. I know there will come a point where I will have to leave. I can’t see the workload ever decreasing.

I’m definitely the most stressed I have ever been.

Amelia*, 30, teaches in reception at a school in London
I’ve been teaching for six years and the inner-city school I work at is fairly well funded in terms of resources. We have a large number of children eligible for the pupil premium so the school receives extra funding as they’re from low-income families. 
My school tends to save money by hiring fewer support staff, having some classes without a teaching assistant and hardly any extra support staff to do interventions, which can be essential in supporting low-attaining children. Although the last school I worked at was in a typically more affluent London suburb, there were considerably fewer children eligible for pupil premium funding and the school was incredibly strapped for cash – even down to a lack of paper and stationery resources. At one point they were asking for donations from parents of essential items such as glue sticks.
I spend an average of £10 a week on resources. My school is generally good at reimbursing me if I have the time to fill out a claims form but that’s rare as it is always at the bottom of my never-ending to-do list. Working in the early years requires a huge amount of resourcing as the children learn through play. This completely relies on staff buying their own resources week by week and claiming back. I’ve never, thankfully, had to pay for food or clothing for a child before.
I am concerned about the lack of funding for schools and the impact this has on pupils, however I’m also deeply worried about the huge focus of our primary school curriculum on literacy and maths over all other subjects. The over-reliance on testing, and the impact this has on the emotional wellbeing and well-roundedness of the children, also concerns me.
The general feeling among my colleagues is that the sheer amount of testing causes undue stress to children, and I’d say I’ve noticed the biggest increase in demand for pastoral care for children who are feeling increasingly under pressure because of this. I once had to provide support for a year two child who was suffering symptoms of stress due to their SATs. 
I have a background in art but I no longer get the opportunity to teach it. I teach maths, literacy, phonics and guided reading and that’s about it. I’m increasingly concerned that we’re churning out children with perfect handwriting, spelling and grammar, but we're not developing the whole child, with social and emotional skills, imagination and creativity. I find this disheartening. Matched with the increasingly unmanageable workload and incredibly low morale due to constant inspections, staff turnover and high pressures, I regularly consider how long I can manage this career.
I worry that the number of teachers leaving the profession will begin to outweigh the number of newly qualified teachers. I already see the effects of this at my school, where retention is a big issue due to the high pressure environment and incredibly high expectations. When teachers leave it is often difficult to find a replacement. 
I’m definitely the most stressed I have ever been. Teaching is a very emotive profession and I care deeply for the children I teach. My workload makes me feel that I am never doing enough for them. I’m regularly kept up at night thinking of things I haven't managed to do and worrying about the impact this will have on the children. I regularly have to remind myself how hard I work for them and the progress they make in my care, but this is rarely enough. 
I often feel bad about seeing my friends on weeknights and weekends as I’m worried about the work I 'should' be doing during this time. It is a physically and emotionally challenging career. I’m generally exhausted by the time the children leave due to the early mornings (many teachers at my school arrive to work by 7.30am) and I still have a few hours' work to do after the children leave. I categorically could not do my job if it wasn't for regular breaks, much of which I use to catch up on work. 
The children are the best part of my job, they are such a joy and the reason I keep doing what I do. I wish I had more time to enjoy their company. My class timetable is incredibly tight and there is rarely a moment where I get to chat to them freely.

I’ve taken uniform home for a child to wash as the family didn’t have a washing machine.

Sinead*, 33, teaches part-time in Northamptonshire
Funding affects every aspect of school life. I teach at primary level and our school recently took a huge hit going from four form entry to three form entry (meaning a reduction from four classes in each year to three). We struggle to resource lessons, share teaching assistants and many special educational needs and disability services have been cut. We also struggle to cover staff sickness and absences. We’ve had to rethink our school trips this year as well. Normally, we buy each child in our school a small gift from Santa but we can’t afford to this year. Schools rely on funding for virtually everything. 
I’ve been teaching for seven years and I enjoy interacting with the children; they are so funny and innocent. I wouldn’t do anything else, but I’m very fortunate in that I have a very supportive partner who enables me to work part-time. I am one of the few teachers that is able to have a work-life balance. I remember how stressful working full-time was though.
I run a lunchtime art club for children eligible for pupil premium funding and because there was no money in the budget to buy Christmas resources, I spent my own money buying them last week. I’ve purchased my own glue sticks as we are out and the school cannot order more until January, plus I’ve bought my own whiteboard pens for the classroom. To give an idea of just how tight things are: our school office harbours the card for Christmas card-making. When we make our cards next week we will be given the exact number of sheets for our class and no more. When I first started teaching you just strolled into an art cupboard and helped yourself.
I also buy my own books and keep them at home, bringing in the texts when needed. It’s nice to have your own copies but also schools are buying fewer and fewer quality books because of the cost. All the staff in my school have had similar experiences. I’ve taught in three schools in total and am fairly certain all teachers have spent their own money at some point, usually for classroom resources and books. 
Our school also funds its own breakfast club. The area in which I teach is predominantly working class and most parents have to be at work by 8.30 or 9am, so breakfast club is essential. Without it, some children simply wouldn’t be able to get to school. The government used to contribute to the before- and after-school clubs but not anymore, so we rely on Parent Teacher Association (PTA) funding for ours. 
If a child doesn’t have food we’ll take bread and cereals from breakfast club to feed them. In my current class this will happen three or four times a week. It can be for a number of reasons: sometimes it’s as simple as they left their lunch in the car by accident, other times it can be a family relying on food banks who just don’t have enough to get by. 
We also have a supply of uniforms in school for children who don’t have their own. In the past I’ve taken uniform home for a child to wash as the family didn’t have a washing machine. There’s now a washing machine at the school. 
Teaching is very much about caring for the whole child. If a child isn’t happy and safe, they won’t learn. There has always been a demand for pastoral care but with the recent cuts, meeting all those needs has definitely become harder. A lot of services that were once readily available no longer are and there just aren’t the resources you need. I don’t think the demand has increased, it’s just becoming harder to meet the pastoral needs for some children, particularly children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
I feel stressed out on a weekly basis. The workload is tremendous, even as a part-timer. You worry about the children constantly and you have a never-ending to-do list. People can be judgemental and assume it’s a 'nice' job where you go home at around 3pm every day – that just isn’t the case. Most teachers, myself included, work a 10 or 11-hour day with a very short lunch break and then we take work home. 
I would just love for politicians and those in charge of funding to teach for one day to really understand how complex the job is. There are so many strands to the job and we constantly have to multitask. I would hope they’d realise how difficult that is when you have to do that in a class of more than 30 pupils. I would also hope they would see instantly how much more money our children need. Children need books and other quality resources to learn. 

I've spent more than £900.

Emma*, 30,  teaches at a primary school in Merseyside
I’ve been teaching for nine years and I can’t even imagine how much I’ve spent over that period: it must be £900 or more. That includes reading books for use in English, pencil pots for the tables and pens for marking. 
I currently work for an academy in the northwest of England but when I worked in north London, the school would frequently buy shoes, extra clothes and food for children so that they didn’t go without. The impact of the funding cuts appeared more obvious there. I was once told that I couldn’t claim back £10 for a butterfly garden I wanted to purchase for science as there was no money in the budget. The school also frequently ran out of paper as it didn’t have the funds to replace it. Another common issue was not being able to afford glue sticks. All of this would come out of my wage. I think for those working in a school, it’s very common to go above and beyond.
At the primary school where I work, we’re currently managing with less funding by using the PTA to help raise money for resources such as books and paper. We could do with more specialists in primary to help us deal with support for mental health and special educational needs and disabilities, but there’s just no money. These things are a huge luxury. I don’t know a school that hasn’t suffered due to the cuts.
Being quite active on Twitter, I know that my experiences have been very similar to so many other teachers. I frequently read about teachers providing food as parents just can’t afford it. It breaks my heart. I’ve also heard other professionals, including food bank workers and housing officers, speak about the impact that the cuts to funding within education have had on children. All their experiences show that we have a huge number of families who are living in poverty and this has a huge impact on a child’s ability to make progress in school. Coming in hungry and worrying about if your carer can afford a school trip, or lunch money, just isn’t conducive to learning.
I love working with children and seeing them enjoy learning, even though the curriculum feels so narrowed and fast-paced due to demands by the government. Every day at school is different and interesting. You just can’t beat the feeling of those moments that you have in the classroom when you and the children are immersed in a topic.
Despite enjoying my work, I often feel extremely stressed. I usually work over 70 hours a week including a day at the weekend, and sometimes more if it’s a particularly busy week. It can take a huge toll on you mentally and physically as there’s so much pressure from Ofsted and regarding test results. 
There’s a common misconception that we get in at 9am and go at 3pm but this just isn’t the reality. The job is all-encompassing. Also, I feel like many people resent the amount of annual leave but I’d much rather work a 40-hour week and have fewer holidays than work 70+ hours with lots.
I’d like those in charge to know how hard the job is and how much effort school staff put into helping children grow into unique and well rounded individuals. We all want the best for the children and should be trusted as a profession to do this without constant fear from Ofsted. 
I’d also like them to understand how important teaching assistants and support staff are to a school and how cutting funding only leads to cutting support to the children. A generation of young people are being denied the support that they need. We need help to support children with their mental health and provide assistance to parents who need it. I’d like them to know that Ofsted doesn’t work and a child’s progress in learning isn’t linear; you can’t and shouldn’t measure children in this way. Michael Rosen wrote a poignant poem that really sums this up for me:
First they said they needed
data about the children 
to find out what they’re learning. 
Then they said they needed data 
about the children 
to make sure they are learning. 
Then the children only learnt 
what could be turned into data. 
Then the children became data.
I’ve nearly left the profession a few times. I had a horrible experience during my NQT year where the workload was so unsustainable and the management was so unsupportive. The headteacher once slammed a door in my face as I forgot to hand a letter out to parents. Another time I was told I’d failed a lesson observation as a child had thrown a pencil up in the air. Last year when I had a difficult situation at another school, I thought about changing career altogether. Luckily, I now love the school I work in and have taken on a new management role which has reinvigorated my love for the job again.

Asking a teacher to achieve a perfect set of results for 30 teenagers will never be attainable – but schools do this.

Alan*, 31, teaches at a comprehensive school in Luton
I've been teaching now for eight years and currently work at a large comprehensive in one of the most economically deprived areas of southeast England. The majority of children at the school come from low-income families and a large number of our pupils are eligible for free school meals (FSM). For over half of our students, English is an additional language, compared to the national average of 17% – although this figure is sometimes misleading, as a high number of these students speak English fluently.
In my previous role I oversaw the annual budget and over the years that I’ve been at the school, this budget has diminished. However, on the whole, enough funding has been provided, with prudent faculty leads able to provide adequate resources. I’ve never had to buy equipment from my own source of funding but I have in the past, usually because of the red tape and bureaucracy associated with having to purchase equipment – it's sometimes easier to purchase things yourself and then get a reimbursement. 
A number of our students receive pupil premium funding as a means-tested support measure and the additional funding is used in a number of ways: additional revision guides, support for educational trips and wider experiences. In my experience though, this source of funding has been poorly managed. Not because the money has not been provided but because of a lack of clear strategy from staff in schools. 
I oversee new staff induction, an area which has been particularly impacted by budget constraints. Sourcing high quality teachers is my biggest issue. Are newly qualified teachers attracted to the role enough? The lure of London and the additional funding they receive often creates a vacuum of high quality, young and enthusiastic teachers elsewhere in the country, especially in deprived areas.
Finding good teachers, and keeping hold of them, is hard. Is funding a contributory factor? Probably. What doesn't help is the amount of school funds used on daily cover staff and international agency costs: they are extortionate and poor quality.
Funding may help attract the best graduates to become the best teachers, but we also have to address wider issues: the disparity between the funding London receives compared to the rest of the country, the strategic use of funds and limits to class sizes to make teaching more manageable. Ensuring staff are accountable but making it fair and sustainable. Asking a teacher to achieve a perfect set of results for 30 teenagers will never be attainable – but schools do this. How willing a school is to adopt educational research and stay on the front line of what is happening around them is important too, as is the ability of experienced teachers to change with the times. 
If anyone got into this job thinking that sitting in a classroom of 16-year-olds would be stress-free then I'm afraid they might need to re-evaluate their career ambitions. Ultimately though, it comes down to how well teachers are supported on a personal level in their teams and from middle and senior leadership. No amount of funding is going to 'fix' the day-to-day stress of teaching.
I’ve found that of those relatively new to the profession that have left, it’s often because they underestimated the demands of the job. There’s often not enough focus in training on the wider commitments of the role and the day-to-day reality of the job, particularly in challenging schools. 
I would also encourage parents to engage more. I think as a team of teachers and parents, we can do better to work together, not against each other, in helping young people overcome the challenges they face in this day and age. I think if we start blaming politicians or parents, progress will only falter. We need to work together and recognise that everyone's job is hard. Money is not the answer and most of the promises from all political parties are nonsense anyway.

Schools have cut their day to finish at 12pm because they can't afford teachers.

Rebecca*, 33, teaches at a primary school in West Yorkshire
I’ve been teaching at the school where I work for six years. Budgets are being cut all over. I focus on special needs, dealing with pupils from nursery up to year six, but I also teach mainstream and it’s becoming a real concern. Our neighbouring schools have had to cut their day down to finish at 12pm on a Friday because they can’t afford the costs of the teachers and the teaching assistants. It’s a real sign of how it’s going around our area. 
Glue sticks, pens, pencils – everything has to be really well cared for and labelled. If we don’t have to use a book then we try not to and just use papers or smaller books so we’re saving a bit of money there. 
Anything we want to order has to be graded in terms of if it’s necessary for the curriculum or not, and if it’s not necessary then you don’t get it. You have to buy it yourself. Any kind of extrinsic motivators, such as stickers, prizes and chocolates, we buy ourselves as teachers. Sometimes we’ll be able to take some money out of PTA and fund it that way but we’re having to think of really unique and interesting ideas of how to use our budget. We've had bake sales to try and fund equipment. We're always very honest with the parents about it.
About six years ago, we just had to be careful and very mindful of what we were ordering. Schools can be very wasteful but within the last three years the cuts have been really dramatic. We have meetings with the headteacher now about budgets – which we never used to do – to talk about where we can try and reduce usage.
We used to do about three school trips a year and now we’re just down to one because the prices of those have gone up to the point where we can’t really expect parents to be paying for it. Although trips are important, in the grand scheme of things it's just one day out of a whole year. 
One of the biggest battles and issues that we’re currently having in our school is that if we don’t have the funds then we can’t provide the support needed for specific children. For example if you have a child with behavioural needs, you go through a lengthy process to be provided with funding from the local council.
We’re very lucky in our school that we still have a teaching assistant in every class but we’re one of the few. A good thing that was brought in was that teaching assistants got more money towards their pension, which is excellent because they are our best resource, however we weren’t given any additional funding for the rise in pensions so that has had to come out of the school budget.  
[I’m spending] about £20 a week out of my own pocket. There’ll be some things that you would be able to then claim back from schools, but you’d have to show why they’re necessary to have rather than why it wasn’t just something you think your class would enjoy. You’d have to sit down and show why it’s cost-effective, when actually if you’re working with 5 or 6-year-olds you want a book because you think it’s going to be good for the children or you just want to get them some chocolates because they’ve passed their times tables test. I’m having to use the [local] library a lot for being able to get more interesting books in for the children rather than buying new ones from the budget.
I know some colleagues refuse to spend anything because, obviously, that’s their salary, but generally I think a lot spend their own money. Sometimes because of necessity, sometimes actually because they’ve just seen it and they’d like it for their classroom. We’ve also asked parents to bring in things so we can try to reuse and reduce our costs. 
I think if you’re not as experienced in teaching you’ll probably be buying a lot more because all the budgets have to be sorted before the academic year, so you’re having to plan really far ahead. I used to spend a lot more when I was starting out because you just need a lot of your own resources to make your classroom nice and homely. It did get to the point where my partner said 'you need to stop spending on schools'. I’d also go to charity shops and find cheaper things there to be able to make it more cost-effective. Loads of people say their partners have told them off because they’re spending money on schools.
Most teachers will have a drawer full of different snacks that they can provide the children if they know that they haven’t come in with any food. You also have a drawer of things the children might need: plasters, bouncy balls, sanitary products. Sometimes the school will fund that, especially if you ask, but you just need to kind of have it there. 
Another big thing that loads of teachers end up buying themselves is spare underwear. You send it home but it doesn’t come back – you wouldn’t really want it back to be honest because you’ve given it for a reason. Some teachers or teaching assistants are bringing in their children’s old uniforms too. 
Sometimes it comes from the parents’ inability to afford the items. Sometimes I think it’s just such a rush in the morning that children don’t actually have a chance to get breakfast, a drink and into the car. But once the children are in school, it doesn’t matter why they haven’t had their breakfast, we have to do what we can to help them learn, and they just can’t learn if they’re really hungry or cold. The poverty line is so severe and you can really tell the children who need that extra support. We’ve also washed children’s clothes at school. 
Funding has been cut so much that one of our children wasn’t provided with a wheelchair in school and we can’t accept a child into school without a wheelchair for health and safety and risk assessment reasons. Another teacher managed to find a seat that would be appropriate, in a caretaker's cupboard in another school. That teacher had to find one that wasn’t being used because the funding wasn’t there to be able to provide the pupil with one made for them. Wheelchair services for the local council would [normally] provide that support but they’re so overwhelmed at the moment that they just can’t meet the demand.
Constantly having to fight for funding, equipment or support for children is really hard and soul-destroying. I went into this job to be able to help these children and I feel like my hands are tied. I can’t help them like I should be able to. 
You’ve got to get so many people to come in to corroborate your findings and you’re having to pay for outside agencies to come into your school, which is funding that you really want to be able to use for the children. I’m writing 5,000-word essays every week for different children to be able to say why they need funding or why the funding needs to be increased. You don’t spend nearly as much time with the children as you used to because it’s very paperwork-heavy and [you’re] jumping through hoops. It’s hard to switch off when you go home and you constantly worry about the children, and the parents.
We’re also having to provide a lot of counselling support. Mental health is probably one of the biggest areas I tackle in my role at the moment. Apart from anything that would be a diagnosed condition, I work one-on-one with children for anxiety or social and emotional needs, far more than I’ve ever had to before. I’ve done special courses for it and it’s absolutely necessary to be able to provide that support in schools. We had one student who we worked with for weeks who was beside himself with anxiety over the environment and what was going to happen to the world. Children are seeing things in the media but not completely understanding them, mixing them up with very childish interpretations and panicking themselves.  
I’ve thought about leaving teaching. I don’t know if you’d find many teachers who hadn’t thought about it, with the job changing so much. When you see that the children don’t get what they should, even when you’ve tried your hardest and you’ve put so much effort into things, it’s difficult. You kind of feel a bit adrift and that schools are left to provide quite a lot of support for families, not just the children. 
It’s not something that I think can be sustained and it really makes your stress levels go up because a lot is relying on you. The most shocking thing is just how normalised it’s all become. The problem is you just get so used to how things are happening that you kind of forget that it’s not how it should be. To spend time with these young minds is just incredible but this is the next generation, and if we can’t provide the support now then we’re going to be playing catch-up, which I don’t think our society can afford.
If you want to help, the teachers have recommended looking up the following charities.
-Place2Be is a children's mental health charity which works with over 600 schools across the UK. Click here for more information on how to donate or volunteer.
-Magic Breakfast helps provide breakfast and offer expert support to reach pupils at risk of hunger. The charity say that just 30p donated could give a child a nutritious breakfast and wrap-around support. More information on how to donate or fundraise can be found here.
- Barnardo's, a charity which aims to help the UK's most vulnerable children and young people, offer a variety of support to schools including family support and school-based counselling. More information can be found here.
- Sure Start centres can be a powerful support when high level of services are offered, according to a study which claims the government programme has saved the NHS millions of pounds. Contact your local council or search online for those nearest in your area.
- BookTrust is the UK's largest children's reading charity and reaches 3.9 million children each year with books, resources and support. More info here on how to support this
-Scrapstores: art and craft supplies can be donated to your nearest scrapstore which are sometimes used by schools for low cost creative supplies. A useful list of locations can be found here. It's not extensive though so also try searching for others nearby.
- You could also try contacting your local school or PTA to see if there are any resources or supplies they're keen on receiving. Always check as schools may have different needs and regulations on what they'll accept.
*Names have been changed to protect anonymity