Many children are going to school too hungry to learn, according to a survey by Kellogg's. The new research also has also revealed that nearly one in three teachers have resorted to feeding children in class, with some even giving cash to pupils to buy food.
Almost 80 percent of teachers have seen children coming to school hungry at least once a week; with almost two fifths (36%) saying they see the problem everyday.
The effects of hunger in the classroom were also investigated:
- A third of the teachers said a child had fallen asleep in class due to hunger or thirst
- 82 percent said a child was unable to concentrate
- 50 percent claimed they were disruptive
- 34 percent said hunger caused a child to cry in distress.
More than half (57%) of the teachers said a hungry child takes times away from other children. Hunger does not just affect children who haven’t eaten anything - almost a fifth (17%) said they make the rest of the class become disruptive too.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of NASUWT said: “Children’s lives are being blighted by poverty and increasing financial pressures on families.
“Poverty takes a physical and emotional toll on children. Children living in poverty often suffer more ill-health and absenteeism from school and cannot concentrate when they’re hungry.
“The government has a responsibility to tackle, not generate poverty.”
Some teachers are blaming the problem on the rising cost of school meals. A recent survey by NASUWT, the teachers' union, found that half of all parents are now paying between £2 and £4 compared to 2013 when the cost was £1 to £3.
The survey also revealed wide regional variations. In Yorkshire, 44 percent of teachers said they’d brought in food for hungry children compared to 23 percent in the North West.
Child Poverty Action group comments
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Action Poverty Group, said: “The Prime Minister said he wants parents to aim high for their kids.
“But parents don’t have the money to cover the basics -never mind extras. And planned cuts to Universal Credit would make things worse for low-paid working families.
“There is good progress towards breakfast clubs but we’ve also seen the freezing of benefits year after year while housing and childcare costs have spiralled so parents are up against it."
Source: Kellogg’s press release
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