A report that was published in today’s Times Educational Supplement revealed that half the country’s school teachers have witnessed students suffering from hunger pangs or malnutrition, which highlights the increasing problem of child malnutrition.
Some teachers admitted buying food for students in the survey, which is the latest report to highlight the impact poverty is having on today’s kids. The Kids Company, a charity that looks after 13,000 children in London, warned earlier this month that more children were visiting its drop in centres, not in search of safety or shelter, but for a meal.
The Trussell Trust, which runs over 200 food banks in the UK, revealed that in the past 12 months, demand has nearly doubled. The charity has opened two new food banks in the last year.
The Prince’s Trust revealed the new figures in a study of 515 teachers from across England. 1 in 4 claimed that pupil’s hunger is a problem and said it was becoming an increasingly common sight because of the recession.
The report also found that 7 out of the 10 secondary school teachers were “increasingly worried” that the students will end up on benefits after leaving full time education. The charity also said that teachers were witnessing their pupils coming into school “hungry”, “dirty” and “struggling to concentrate” since the recession.
Over 1 in 4 teachers said that they often saw children walking miles to school as they can’t afford public transport. A further two-thirds claim that they saw their pupil’s with holes in their shoes. One teacher even said how she saw a pupil walking to school in the snow, just wearing her socks as her shoes no longer fitted.
Some of the teachers said that they have seen a “marked” increase in emotional problems and depression as joblessness took a toll on family life at home. Ginny Lynn, director of policy and strategy said, “ The recession is already damaging the hopes of more than a million young people who are struggling to find a job,
“Now young people in schools are next in line.
“We cannot allow them to become the next victims of the recession.”
The survey conducted by YouGov plc, said in all, 48% of the survey, said that they often saw pupils coming into school who were showing signs that they had not eaten enough or were suffering from malnutrition. One teacher said that they witnessed “scavenger pupils finishing off scraps” and another teacher said that some of the pupils were coming into school to “have food and keep warm”.
One respondent said, “On a daily basis, I witness one child who never changes his clothes at all,
“All term he has been wearing the same two hoodies and jeans.”
According to the report, the most effective way to help deprived youngsters cope with the impact of poverty is to provide them with a mentor. But two fifths said they did not have enough support to do this.
Last month, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers claimed that children were going hungry because their school dinners were too “tiny”. Providers argued that they were reducing the size of school dinners to keep their contracts as public service cuts began to bite and keep the costs down. Recession has affected many people in the industry including providers, suppliers, restaurant insurance providers, manufacturers and restaurants, but the affect it has had to families is often forgotten about.
Founder of the Kids Company, Camila Batmanghelidjh said, “We are seeing responsible parents who are not managing to have food in the house.” The School Food Trust, which advises the Government about children’s nutrition, said for “far too many children” a free school meal was their only proper meal of the day.