Almost half of teachers in Yorkshire 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 showed that more than eight out of 10 (83%) Yorkshire-based teachers see children coming into school hungry at least once a week, while 35% said they see children going hungry every day.
More than one in eight teachers in Yorkshire (13%) said they’d even brought in money to give to children who hadn’t had anything to eat.
According to a fifth of teachers (22%), the number of children coming to school hungry has increased compared to this time last year, while 3% 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% said parents were too busy to give their kids breakfast.
The effects of hunger in the classroom were made plain. A third of teachers (39%) said they’d had a child in their class fall asleep, blaming it on hunger or thirst. Some 82% said a hungry child is unable to concentrate, 50% claimed they were more disruptive, and 34% 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 set up a breakfast club. Such a small investment can make a real difference for our children, today and in the future.”
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.
Huddersfield Town Foundation, set up by Town chairman Dean Hoyle, now runs 18 breakfast clubs in schools across our area serving up 1,000 free healthy and nutritious breakfasts every morning to ensure the children are fully prepared for their day.