To teachers, or anyone who knows one, it will come as little surprise that most routinely dip into their own pockets to make sure students have what they need.
And as recent research shows, that doesn’t mean the odd pen or exercise book.
According to a survey conducted by Education Changemakers and Australian stationery brand, Yoobi, 92 per cent of teachers spent their own money on basic classroom supplies, with nearly one third shelling out more than $500 in a single year.
For one in ten, that figure soared above $1000.
According to The Australian Council Of Social Service’s 2016 Poverty Report, more than 731,300 Australian children live below the poverty line.
For these families, Yoobi co-founder Lance Kalish notes, the back-to-school basics that most take for granted are simply out of reach.
“We like to think of Australia as the lucky country – and in many ways it is – but that image obscures the facts that 91 per cent of Australian teachers say they have worked with students that haven’t had access to basic school supplies at home,” Kalish said.
Yoobi aims to address the problem. For every item purchased, they donate another to a classroom or child in need via The Smith Family.
In the American company's first 12 months of operation in Australia, it has donated 330,000 items - enough supplies to cover 24,000 school children for an entire school year.
"Yoobi is about levelling the playing field by providing fundamental access to school supplies for children in need," Kalish said, "and with the help of the back-to-school shopping public, we are well on track to achieve our goal of providing to 100,000 kids in the next year.”