YOUNG VOICES

A Third Of Teachers Are Giving Food To Children Who Are Too Hungry To Do Their Schoolwork

15/01/2016 13:30 GMT | Updated 15/01/2016 13:59 GMT
Steven Errico via Getty Images
Boy (11-13) eating sandwich in school gymnasium, eyes closed

Nearly a third of teachers are giving food to children who are too hungry to do their schoolwork, new research has revealed.

Nearly 80% of teachers have reported children coming to school hungry at least once a week, and 38% said this happened every day, a poll conducted by YouGov for Kellogg's revealed.

In 2012, similar reports caused the Royal College of GPs, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to urge the government to provide free school breakfasts to those 1.3m children who already qualify for free school meals.

At the time Dr Clare Gerada of the Royal College of GPs said: "Providing free school breakfast to those eligible for free school meals would be a start. Though clearly it would not address the underlying issue of poverty, [it] would at least mean that children from poor families would not jeopardise their chances of learning."

Jill Rutter, head of research and policy at the Family and Childcare Trust, voiced her encouragement for schools to "take up the opportunities offered by Kellogg’s and set up a breakfast club." Over the past 16 years, Kellogg's claims to have set up more than 1,000 breakfast clubs in some of the most deprived areas in the UK.

Interestingly, 41% of teachers polled cited benefit cuts as the cause of pupils arriving to school hungry, and 35% said cost-of-living pressures.

Nearly a third of university students are also going without food at least one day a week to meet living costs, according to a survey by The Student Room .

The report found 79% students have committed theft, 45% of students admitted they have, or know someone who has, turned to selling drugs, as well as a further 35% turning to exotic dancing or escort work, in order to fund their living costs at university.

This poll coincides with the government's announcement of their decision to cut maintenance grants, a highly controversial move which will effect many students from lower income households.

University community manager at The Student Room Hannah Morrish said the results of the study show "how vulnerable many students are, not just financially, but socially as well."

Morrish added: "Across the country everyone is feeling the stress of rising living costs and, unfortunately, students are no exception."