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A quarter of teachers bring food into school to help hungry pupils

(48 Posts)
ttosca Sat 19-Apr-14 21:06:01

Teachers are having to bring in food to give their pupils breakfast every day because they are too hungry and exhausted to learn as a result of increased poverty, according to a report out today.

A survey of 4,000 teachers concluded that the educational opportunities for thousands of children were being blighted by the impact of the Government's social and economic policies.

The survey, by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said 80 per cent of teachers observed pupils lacking in energy and concentration as a result of eating poorly.

Many were also unable to participate in activities like school trips because their parents could not afford to pay for them. In addition, 27 per cent said they brought in food for pupils themselves because they knew they were too hungry to learn, while 55 per cent said pupils were missing out on important education activities because they had no money to pay for them.

Geoff Branner, president of the union and a special needs teacher in Oxfordshire, said that his school, "fewer than 15 miles away from David Cameron's constituency", was having to provide free breakfasts "for a growing number of students who otherwise would not have anything to eat until lunchtime".

"Children are coming to school too tired to concentrate because they could not sleep as their bedroom is cold," he added. "As teachers we know that a hungry child cannot concentrate on his or her learning - the brain needs fuel to operate properly."

He added that the Government should do more to tackle "the rising numbers of children being plunged into poverty and deprivation, instead of giving priority to tax breaks for the immeasurably wealthy".

bamboostalks Sat 19-Apr-14 21:08:48

I always buy a loaf and butter for toast at the beginning of every week as well as some brekkie bars for those who miss out and tell us. It happens for all sorts of reasons not necessarily just poverty.

BuzzardBird Sat 19-Apr-14 21:10:28

I also believe it is not just poverty.

Roseformeplease Sat 19-Apr-14 21:13:45

I teach in a "bog standard comprehensive" and have never seen this. The article is highly political and often, if there are problems with poor breakfast, it is down to parental choices and not always poverty. Also, children are often given money rather than a meal and make poor choices themselves (my personal favourite being a 2litre bottle of Irn Bru for lunch).

chocolatespiders Sat 19-Apr-14 21:16:10

Every holiday I worry about the children that get free school meals and wonder if there is enough food to go round in the house.

Falconi Sat 19-Apr-14 21:17:50

I bet their parents have big TVs, smoke cigarets and drink cheap beer or cider while watching JeremyKile all day...hmm

Feenie Sat 19-Apr-14 21:32:17

Yeah? I bet that you are a judgemental twat.

TinyDiamond Sat 19-Apr-14 21:42:22

We do this. Inner city secondary. Some teachers offer cereal bars as prizes for 'games' etc in morning classes. There is also science club available from 7.30 each day and we buy bread to make toast and hot choc for anyone that turns up. We have a few regulars. They don't like science.

BuzzardBird Sat 19-Apr-14 21:46:13

Feenie, I think you have read the PP post the wrong way? I sensed sarcasm in Falconi's post.

Dragonlette Sat 19-Apr-14 21:53:37

We have a breakfast club by invitation only, run by the leaning support department. There are generally a couple of kids per form who have invitations and are allowed to go any day they want/need to. None of the other kids would be aware of it, and teachers who don't have anyone in their form who is invited probably wouldn't be aware of it either.

I know my mum used to pay for 2 lots of school dinners each week in her inner city primary school until she retired. She never knew which children benefited from it but she was told that it helped out a number of kids at different times. Most of the teachers at her school either "shared" their packed lunches (having made far too much to be able to eat anyway) or paid for a child to have school lunches.

MrsMoon76 Sat 19-Apr-14 21:57:35

My husband is a teacher in a secondary school and he brings extra bits every week - bread, fruit etc for those that might need it. Heart breaking.

Fayrazzled Sat 19-Apr-14 21:58:20

My children go to a primary school in an affluent town, very low % of pupils on FSM etc. However, I know school regularly provides breakfast for a number of pupils. If it's happening here, then it's happening everywhere.

Fayrazzled Sat 19-Apr-14 22:00:06

Oh and most parents wouldn't be aware it was going on at our school-it's not common knowledge. It's not a formal breakfast club. But quietly the head is making sure children who need it don't go without breakfast.

Falconi Sat 19-Apr-14 22:00:18

Feenie it was supposed to be sarcastic...but I am not good at it, I admit.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Sat 19-Apr-14 22:03:40

I spend every morning from 8am making toast and cereal for kids. Some are there at 7.15am, starving

ImATotJeSuisUneTot Sat 19-Apr-14 22:04:48

My school is in the top three deprived areas of the UK.

It breaks my heart, how hungry our students are, particularly after the weekend.

Every morning we go through loaves and loaves of bread, fruit, juice.

We have students who come back for seconds, thirds, and its not teen-boy-scavenging, its genuine hunger.

We're lucky to be in a position that we can offer this for free, but it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that teachers are paying for it out of their own pocket, I know I would.

HolidayCriminal Sat 19-Apr-14 22:09:21

DS just refused breakfast for a spell before school, he ended up part of the toast club. I don't know how you classify him. He just refused to eat.

indyandlara Sat 19-Apr-14 22:12:04

Yip. Food in my drawer for those who need it. Been doing this since I started teaching in 1999. It's not a new phenomenon.

CeruleanStars Sat 19-Apr-14 22:14:45

Sadly this doesn't surprise me at all, I've heard of it several times from people working in schools.

Eastpoint Sat 19-Apr-14 22:15:24

My SIL was doing this in the late 1990s in what would have seemed like a nice Hampshire village primary school.

LaurieFairyCake Sat 19-Apr-14 22:15:53

I think most people don't understand poverty - it's not only about folks not having money to provide breakfast it's the fact they might be rushing to get to a crappy job that starts too early, have multiple children with different needs or at different schools etc.

There are dozens of reasons children don't get proper breakfast and they are to do with poverty but poverty is just so complex.

PinklePurr Sat 19-Apr-14 22:16:52

DS has FSM sad - I can assure you he is well fed in holidays.

surromummy Sat 19-Apr-14 22:17:59

cant understand it myself, as a single parent of several. how much does a bowl of cereal/piece of toast, yogurt and a piece of fruit cost?! peanuts. I imagen a lot of it is laziness/neglect on the parents part.

BackforGood Sat 19-Apr-14 22:35:52

a) it's hardly a new phenomenon
b) it's FAR more complex than not having enough money

Roseformeplease Sat 19-Apr-14 22:41:54

"If it is happening here, it is happening everywhere".

I can guarantee you IT IS NOT.

Ordinary school, remote corner of Scotland. Not affluent. Some rural poverty and most jobs fairly poorly paid (shops, cafés, fishing) but parents seem to manage to feed their children although not always with the best of food.

This might happen but it is families making poor choices, being time poor or not prioritising food. It is not always poverty and, often, it is not even poverty. My DS eats a huge breakfast but is starving by break time. If you saw him running for snacks you might conclude he was missing breakfast - he is not.

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