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School holidays leave kids hungry for three meals a day

28 Aug, 2014

 

One in eight pupils (13 per cent) is not getting enough to eat in the school holidays*. This is according to teachers who are worried by changes in pupils, such as weight loss, when they return to school in the new term.

The holidays should be a fun time for families but a shocking study released today shows that term time breaks put an extra burden on the food budget of a third of parents in the UK - with 19 per cent of parents struggling to feed their children three meals a day.

These are sad statistics when children spend 170 days out of school compared to 190 days in the classroom.

The research by Kellogg’s reveals that 39 per cent of teachers say there are pupils in their school that do not get enough to eat over the school holidays. Of this 39 per cent, more than a third (36 per cent) of teachers notice children coming back after the holidays with signs of weight loss and 77 per cent have seen a noticeable difference in their readiness to learn when they return for the new term.

More than a quarter of teachers (27 per cent) believe that offering holiday clubs at their school would ensure that children get fed properly in the school holidays and 42 per cent believe they would provide children with extra learning opportunities over the summer.

Adrian Curtis, director of Trussell Trust Foodbank Network : “School holidays are especially difficult for low income families whose children usually receive free school meals or support from breakfast clubs. Many are deeply concerned about being able to feed their children over the long break, and may resort to skipping meals to feed their children.”

“Last year we saw foodbank usage in August increase by over a fifth (21 per cent) compared to the same time in June, before the holidays began, and we expect this year’s figures to reflect a similar trend.

 “On top of the existing work foodbanks do to help families struggling during the holidays, we have started to partner with companies, like Kellogg’s, to pilot running holiday breakfast clubs for families whose incomes are stretched to breaking point.”

Kellogg’s is launching a pilot Holiday Breakfast Club programme to help families in need this summer. The clubs are held in a variety of venues including schools, community centres and foodbanks and provide the vital food and social activities that these children need in the holidays.

This is part of the company’s Help Give a Child a Breakfast initiative which aims to feed 80,000 families in need every day.

Jonathan Myers, Kellogg’s managing director said: “A staggering 85 per cent of schools now have a breakfast club in term time and we’re proud of the role we’ve played by providing training and grants to set up 1,000 school breakfast clubs over the past 16 years.

But, more can be done and that’s why we will continue investing in our Breakfast Club programme and explore new ways of helping struggling families such as supporting Holiday Breakfast Clubs.


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