Hunger in schools on the increase as kids are left to fend for themselves in the morning
16 Oct, 2012
A shocking new report reveals kids are relying on teacher handouts and food banks as breakfast clubs continue to close across Britain.
A toxic combination of parental apathy and poverty is leading to more kids than ever going to school hungry.
Money troubles and a lack of interest from parents are forcing more and more children to literally fend for themselves in the morning leading to many sitting at their desks with empty tummies, according to a report by Kellogg’s.
Four out of five (79%) of the teachers surveyed said children are hungry in morning lessons and more than half (54%) revealed this had risen over the last year as the recession, unemployment and benefit cuts take hold.
A combination of parental apathy (68%) and a lack of money (57%) are forcing children to go to school with more than a hunger to learn as many parents have simply lost interest or are too worried about other things to send their children off with the best start in the morning.
School breakfast clubs are widely regarded as a cost-effective way to tackle child hunger in the morning. However, recent reports reveal that 40% of breakfast clubs have closed in cash strapped schools across England in the last year.
Karin Woodley, Chief Executive from leading education charity ContinYou, said: “Many families are really struggling financially and in extreme cases, this means that there simply isn’t enough food to go round. Breakfast clubs can provide a lifeline for these families so we’re extremely concerned to hear that many are being forced to close.”
Teachers have been forced to take the problem into their own hands with nearly a third (31%) admitting to bringing in food for the pupils who have missed out on breakfast. Shockingly, one in twelve of these teachers spend between £16 and £25 a month on fruit and cereal bars in a desperate attempt to improve concentration and behaviour in class.
Teachers aren’t alone in providing handouts to hungry children. Food charity FareShare has revealed that more schools than ever are relying on them to feed hungry children at breakfast time –an increase of 57% in the last year.
Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive of FareShare said: “There are 5.8 million people living in deep poverty across the country, meaning they struggle to afford everyday essentials like food. We are particularly concerned about child hunger as our research shows that more schools than ever before are using donations from FareShare to provide breakfast to their pupils as more families struggle to afford to feed themselves.”
In response, Kellogg’s is today launching a nationwide campaign to ‘Help give a child a breakfast.’ The cereal company is raising £300,000 which will be donated to schools to help provide breakfast for the children that need it most. In addition, Kellogg’s is committing to provide three million breakfasts through its partnership with FareShare over the next three years to support the most vulnerable people in the community.