Food poverty warning as London school pupils start day without breakfast
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Communities, Local Government
Large numbers of London school pupils are starting the day without breakfast, a new survey has suggested.
The London Assembly’s Health and Environment Committee surveyed 164 heads, teachers and other staff from primary and secondary schools across the capital as part of an investigation into food poverty.
Half of the respondents said they believed that the reason children aren't getting breakfast is that families can't afford to pay for it, while 61% said that they had fed pupils at their own expense.
Overall, more than 95% of teachers said that some of their pupils are going without breakfast, and 18.8% said that between 11 and 15 pupils in each class were going hungry.
Nearly all of those surveyed (97.2%) said that missing breakfast had a negative effect on pupils' concentration levels.
Assembly member Fiona Twycross, who is leading the investigation, said: "As the weather gets colder and Londoners prepare for their festive feasts, I think most people will share my concern about the shocking numbers of children going hungry across the capital.
“Thank goodness for caring teachers who pay for food for hungry pupils out of their own pockets – although it is scandalous that they have to in this day and age. What worries me even more is what is happening during the school holidays when this extra help isn't available.
"During our investigation, we’ve heard about a growing demand for food banks, breakfast clubs and free school meals, especially as the economic downturn takes effect. With figures showing more than a third of London’s children live in poverty, the recommendations in our forthcoming report - aimed at lifting London families out of food poverty - are particularly important."