SCHOOL support staff are using their own cash to help pay for pupils' food and clothing - even though many are struggling to cope with the cost of living crisis themselves, according to the union UNISON.

A UK-wide survey of more than 13,000 school workers reveals that over a third of staff (36 per cent) had dipped into their own pockets to help pupils with food or packed lunches, 34 per cent had assisted with uniform, and one in five (22 per cent) had helped with books and stationery.

The findings have been released to coincide with Stars in our Schools, UNISON's annual celebration of school support staff, which is being marked in classrooms across the UK today.

UNISON head of education Mike Short said: "Even though school staff are not well-off themselves, they're still doing what they can for their pupils.

"Their generosity and dedication are to be applauded, but it is truly shocking that employees struggling to make ends meet are having to bail out less fortunate families.

"This can't continue."

He said thousands of staff were being attracted to other jobs "with less responsibility and better pay".

The Government said its plan to halve inflation this year is "the best thing we can do to help people".