Pupils come to school hungry says union

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A new survey carried out by NASUWT has found that increasing numbers of students are coming to school hungry, with more than a quarter of teachers recalled having to step in and provide food for children.

More than half of teachers surveyed said they had witnessed pupils reportedly unable to concentrate in school "because they are tired, hungry and anxious".

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT said the results of the survey showed just how wide ranging the child poverty problem was.

She said: "Children living in poverty are more likely to suffer from low confidence and behavioural issues. Homelessness leads to ill health and absenteeism when the distance and cost of travelling to school from temporary accommodation is prohibitive.

"Teachers and support staff are mending clothes and washing uniforms, providing food and equipment."

The government responded saying it was committed to working to eliminate child poverty and "improving life chances for children" and stated that as part of the Budget £10m of funding a year would be going in to expanding breakfast clubs in up to 1,600 schools by September 2017.

The survey found:

• Almost three-quarters of the teachers had seen pupils coming to school hungry
• Over a quarter had given food to hungry pupils
• Most said their school had given food to hungry pupils
• Most had seen pupils unable to afford uniform
• 15% had given pupils clothing
• 59% said their school had given pupils clothing
• Almost two-thirds had lent or given pupils school equipment
• Most said their school had lent or given pupils school equipment
• Over a third had seen pupils leave school mid-term because they had lost their homes
• Over a third were aware of pupils living in temporary accommodation
• 41% had given advice to families on issues related to financial pressures
• Most said financial pressures meant rising levels of anxiety among pupils
• Nearly three-quarters reported pupils being absent from school
• Nearly two-thirds said pupils had exhibited behaviour problems

Every Child Journal
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