Following the news that 40 per cent of breakfast clubs have closed in schools across England, research released today shows that teachers have seen a huge increase in the number of pupils coming to school hungry.
Cash-strapped schools are increasingly having to rely on food banks to keep their daily breakfast clubs going as budget cuts force hundreds to close, according to a survey of UK teachers by Kellogg's, which also reveals that one in ten schools are now relying on food recycling charities to feed pupils, while a third of teachers admit to taking food into schools to give to the hungriest children.
And that figure appears to be growing as almost four out of five teachers say their pupils are coming to school hungry with more than half admitting it has become an increasing problem over the last year as the recession, unemployment and benefit cuts take hold.
The study is backed up by figures from one charity which provides free food to schools, Fareshare, which has seen a 57 per cent increase in the number of breakfast clubs in need of free food.
The average breakfast club costs just £4,000 to run per year, however cuts to school budgets are leaving a financial gap which many are struggling to fill.
The Royal College of GPs, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health recently called on the government to provide free breakfasts to children in receipt of free school meals. They believe that doing so would help to reduce the health problems linked with poverty and improve academic achievement.
But recent figures show that in the past year 40 per cent of school breakfast clubs have closed and many more are struggling to keep going, while of the teachers surveyed in the Kellogg’s report released today, just over half said their schools still operate a breakfast club.
In response to this Kellogg’s is today launching a nationwide campaign to ‘Help give a child a breakfast.’ The cereal company is raising £300,000 which will be donated to schools to help provide breakfast for the children that need it most. In addition, Kellogg’s is committing to provide three million breakfasts through food banks like FareShare over the next three years to support the most vulnerable people in the community.
Watch the video below for further information.