Malnourished children are taking food from school bins to stifle hunger, headteacher says


Malnourished children are arriving at school so hungry they are taking food out of the bins, a headteacher says.

Siobhan Collingwood, headteacher of Morecambe Bay Primary School, in Lancashire, said one in 10 of its pupils came from families using food banks.

“When children are food deprived it alters their behaviour and they do become quite food obsessed, so we have some children who will be stealing fruit cores from the bins,” the headteacher said.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Collingwood said: “We have children who have nothing in their lunch boxes and children who are just fixated upon food.”

The headteacher said there were currently 35 children at her school whose families are supported by food banks: “It’s probably higher because they are the ones we know about.”

“Families are coming in telling me they are routinely loaning food to each other, my day-to-day experience is telling me this is a growing problem,” she said.

Ms Collingwood said she had noticed more problems since the introduction of universal credit.

Her comments came after a cross-party group of MPs called on the government to appoint a “minister for hunger” to tackle “food insecurity” – especially among young children.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said 1 million people had been lifted out of absolute poverty since 2010 – including 300,000 children.

The spokesperson added: “We already provide support through free school meals and our healthy start vouchers.”

 January 2019

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