Coatless pupil inspires school winter appeal

Warm hearts campaign Image copyright Natalie Wyatt-Freeman
Image caption Teacher Natalie Wyatt-Freeman said a social media appeal had seen hundreds of responses

A pupil who turned up to school without a coat has inspired an appeal to keep all children warm over winter.

Spencer Academy Trust has 21 schools in the East Midlands with some in more deprived areas than others.

Teacher Natalie Wyatt-Freeman said it was a "basic human right" for all children to be warm and dry and started asking for donations of unused coats.

The appeal has "gone crazy" with hundreds of coats collected along with an additional donation of shoes.

The Warm Hearts, Warm Coats idea began when Ms Wyatt-Freeman saw pupil at a secondary school without a coat on a bitterly cold day .

When asked why, he said he did not own one.

Ms Wyatt-Freeman said the scale of the issue was difficult to judge among more than 16,000 children the trust serves.

"Kids sometimes wear coats and sometimes don't, so it's only on really cold - or really wet - days it stands out.

"So we know some children don't have warm coats and it is really hard to learn if you are freezing.

Hundreds of donations

"Teachers go into teaching to make a difference - yes, we want to educate but actually it's fundamental in our society we give children the basics," she said.

The appeal began on 6 December and already has hundreds of donations.

Ms Wyatt-Freeman said: "It's gone crazy, it's fantastic but absolutely crazy.

"I've had more than 100 people asking me to pick up coats and a few have even come round and dropped them off at my house."

Drop-off points are open at trust schools and Chetwynd Barracks, Nottingham, until 13 December and Shoe Aid has also offered 100 pairs of shoes.

Donations will be given to students next week with any leftover donated to charities working with families.

Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites