Almost 90% of teachers have seen a rise in the number of children arriving at school hungry, according to a new survey.
The poll of nearly 2,000 working teachers found more than 85% had reported such an increase in the last two years.
Some teachers revealed they had brought food from home to feed struggling students, while children have also been found stealing from the dining hall and from their classmates’ plates, according to the study by the Daily Mirror.
The study, carried out alongside the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Child Poverty Action Group, also reported vulnerable students arriving for school in dirty uniforms or wearing clothes so threadbare they were unsuitable for cold weather.
Nearly all teachers said there had also been a steady rise in parents who were unable to afford to send their children on school trips.
Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, told the newspaper: “The Government can and should do far more to reduce child poverty and youth unemployment. The problems that stem from poor housing, joblessness and poverty in all its forms have a debilitating effect on many pupils’ learning. Tired, hungry children simply can’t learn effectively and parents in one of the richest countries in the world shouldn’t have to rely on food banks.”
A Department for Education spokesman said: “Around 1.3 million children receive a free, nutritious meal at school. We are extending this to all five to seven-year-olds from next September. The recent school food plan highlighted the Government’s commitment to healthy school food. We are allocating more than £3 million to help schools establish more breakfast clubs.”
The survey has been published ahead of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.
This is quite sad to see. If there is anything that highlights how alarming our economic situation is right now, it’s articles such as this one. With more and more families having to turn to food banks as much as they may not wish to, it is becoming very difficult to keep children from being hungry. Nothing saddens me more than a kid who has barely enough energy to focus and enjoy learning 😦