14 Jan, 2016
ONE IN THREE TEACHERS HAS TO FEED HUNGRY PUPILS
- Teachers bring money to school for children who don’t eat until lunch
- Some families can’t afford breakfast, teachers say
- Kellogg’s survey shows hungry children take teaching time from others
Almost a third of teachers (31%) have brought food into school for children who haven’t eaten anything in the morning, according to a new study.*
The Kellogg’s poll of 765 teachers in England and Wales showed that nearly eight out of ten (78%) see children coming into school hungry at least once a week, while 36 per cent said they see children going hungry every day.
And almost one in ten teachers (8%) said they’d even brought in money to give to children who hadn’t had anything to eat.
According to a fifth of teachers, the number of children coming to school hungry has increased compared to this time last year, while three per cent reported a decrease.
Those who said the problem was getting worse blamed the fact families were still struggling financially (74% said it was a reason behind the increase), while 38 per cent said parents were too busy to give their kids breakfast.
When asked to name the proportion of children arriving to school hungry on a regular basis**, the average amongst teachers who felt able to give an answer was one fifth.
The effects of hunger in the classroom were made plain: a third of teachers said they’d had a child in their class fall asleep, blaming it on hunger or thirst. Some 82 per cent said a hungry child is unable to concentrate, 50 per cent claimed they were more disruptive, and 34 per cent said hunger causes a child to cry in distress.
Hunger doesn’t just affect children who haven’t eaten anything. More than half of teachers said a hungry child takes teaching time away from other children (57%) and becomes disruptive to other children’s learning (52%). Almost a fifth (17%) said they make the rest of the class become disruptive too.
Jill Rutter, head of policy and research at the Family and Childcare Trust, said: “Missing breakfast has a huge impact on children’s ability to concentrate, learn and behave, which affects their results and long-term outcomes.
“We are very glad that policy changes in England mean that parents will soon be able to ask schools to set up breakfast clubs.*** Governments in all parts of the UK now recognise that breakfast is essential to children’s learning. Despite these promising developments, there are too many children who still miss out. We are concerned that more than a third of teachers are seeing children come hungry to school every day.
“The Family and Childcare Trust encourages schools to take up the opportunities offered by Kellogg’s and set up a breakfast club. Such a small investment can make a real difference for our children, today and in the future.”
Paul Wheeler, Kellogg’s spokesman, said: “It’s shocking to learn that many teachers feel they have to bring food and money to school for hungry children, and that over half of teachers+ claim children at their school regularly don’t eat until lunch.
“Kellogg’s has helped support more than 2,500 school breakfast clubs in the UK over the past 18 years with funding, training and donations. They’re a great way of ensuring children are fed and able to concentrate on learning before embarking on the school day.”
For more information, including full results, please contact the Kellogg’s Press Office on 0161 869 5500, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 765 teachers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21 December 2015 - 6 January 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the England and Wales school population by school phase, location and teacher gender.
**regular basis = at least once per week
***The Government is currently seeking views on draft departmental advice about how schools should respond to requests regarding wraparound care, including breakfast clubs
+ 62 per cent