Teachers are warning that children from unstable family backgrounds are underachieving because they are too miserable to concentrate at school.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers passed a resolution to press the Government to recognise the damage done to children’s prospects at school by family breakdown.
Secondary school teacher Phil Whalley told delegates that the problem was on the way to becoming an “expanding, perpetuating and toxic circle”.
Mr Whalley said that children coming to school angry and upset because of a chaotic home-life were often unable to learn. Cohabitation contributed to the problem, he said, with unmarried couples twice as likely to separate as their married counterparts.
He said: “The educational outcomes for all the children in so-called blended families are worse than the achievements of children brought up in traditional nuclear families.”
He cautioned that if the trend continued, the damage to children’s educational attainment caused by family breakdown would soon outweigh the positive contribution of financial investment.
He added: “The great sadness is that the consequences of an unstable family background are felt long into adult life.
“Those who under-achieve in their education are more likely to go on and live dysfunctional lives and be unable to support a stable family life for their own children.
“In short, as a society we are in danger of creating an expanding, perpetuating and toxic circle.”