Guardian (UK) 19 June 2012
Heads and doctors want needy children to get free breakfast as Guardian survey reveals upsurge in demand. Headteachers and senior doctors are calling for needy children to receive a free breakfast at school after a Guardian survey found almost half of teachers have brought food in for pupils who arrive at school with empty stomachs. Four out of five teachers (83%) see pupils who are hungry in the morning and 55% said up to a quarter of pupils arrive having not eaten enough. More than half say the number of children involved has been rising in the past year or two, which have seen some families hit hard by the recession, unemployment and benefit cuts. In the survey of 591 teachers across Britain who belong to the online Guardian Teacher Network, 49% said they have taken food or fruit into school to give to children who have not had breakfast. Almost one in five (17%) have given such pupils money out of their own pockets to buy lunch.
The teachers’ survey also found that:
• 72% identified lack of parenting skills as a reason for the growing number of pupils going hungry; 58% said family health or social problems; 44% said lack of family time; 41% cited benefit cuts and 35% said cost-of-living pressures.