A study has blamed the recession for growing numbers of youngsters arriving at school malnourished, dirty and struggling to concentrate.
Researchers found that almost six-in-10 teachers had experienced hungry pupils at least once a week.
The study was undertaken by the Prince's Trust and the Times Educational Supplement, and comes in the wake of the news that the country is back in recession.
In disturbing revelations, some staff even said they had come across children scavenging for scraps of food, or using school as their only opportunity to warm up and have a good meal.
The study also revealed teachers' fears that increasing youth unemployment will leave their students facing a future on benefits.
Teachers told the researchers stories of hungry, cold children, desperate to keep warm and fill their tummies. One said they had seen a child arrive at school 'wearing a soaking wet uniform. He washed it in the morning as his mother had failed to do so due to being inebriated. He didn't know how to use the drier so came in wet.'
Over five hundred secondary school teachers were interviewed for the survey, which also found that nearly two-thirds of staff saw pupils on a weekly basis who did not have clean clothes. A staggering 40 per cent said they witnessed this every day.
Most shockingly, 39 per cent of staff said they experienced hungry pupils every day, with 57 per cent witnessing it on a weekly basis.
Additionally, 16 per cent of teachers said they had seen a student suffering from malnutrition, or displaying other signs of not having eaten enough. Thirteen per cent of school staff said they had encountered this weekly.
We reported earlier this month how the ATL was warning that children are going hungry in school down to smaller portion sizes - but how shocking is this that they are arriving starving from home?
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more