Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals

Today’s shocking stats from the Guardian are bad news for the government, who scrapped plans for free school meals for 500,000 children.

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Statistics revealed today by the Guardian will put further pressure on the government to stop children going hungry.

Child-sleepingAlmost half the teachers surveyed by the Guardian said they have brought food into schools for children you have not had breakfast. Eighty three per cent of teachers said they see pupils who are hungry in the morning and 55% said up to a quarter haven’t eaten enough.

This is bad news for the government, who scrapped Labour’s plans to give free school meals to 500,000 children from low income families.

As Cllr Richard Watts, cabinet member for children and young people in Islington, explained on these pages two years ago:

This scheme, by itself, would have lifted 50,000 children out of poverty. Some of the poorest families – many under the official poverty line – will now have to pay up to £600 more to give their children a decent lunch. This is the equivalent of an extra penny in income tax per child for them.

Islington Labour’s campaign to introduce free school meals was a key part of our winning local election campaign and we will stick to our promise to introduce them, despite the Government taking away £1.6 million that the Labour Government had allocated to the borough to help with the costs.

Laura Rodrigues, a policy officer at the Children’s Society, also wrote on Left Foot Forward:

Currently 1.2 million children, living in poverty, are missing out on the benefits of receiving free school meals.

The Guardian report said:

In the survey of 591 teachers across Britain who belong to the online Guardian Teacher Network, 49% said they have taken food or fruit into school to give to children who have not had breakfast. Almost one in five (17%) have given such pupils money out of their own pockets to buy lunch.

Almost four in five (78%) said they wanted children from low-income families to get a free breakfast on arrival at school, just as some already receive a free lunch.

The Royal College of GPs, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health are urging ministers to examine the viability of ensuring that the 1.3 million children in England who qualify for free school meals also get a free breakfast.

 


See also:

This is a watershed moment for the future of free school meals 23 Apr 2012

Failure to extend free school meals will cost poorest families £600 a year 10 Jun 2010

Free school meals for all? 27 Oct 2009


 

Dr Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, told the Guardian free breakfasts would help tackle health problems, the social divide in classrooms, and low self esteem in children.

She said:

It is sad to hear of so many children being hungry and that lack of family resources appears to be a major contributor to this. As a GP I see poverty presenting in my consulting room on a daily basis and it is important that all governments address child poverty as a matter of urgency.

“Providing free school breakfast to those eligible for free school meals would be a start. Though clearly it would not address the underlying issue of poverty, [it] would at least mean that children from poor families would not jeopardise their chances of learning.”

Hill Mead Primary School in Brixton already runs a breakfast club for pupils; in a Guardian video, pupils say:

“If there was no breakfast club I would be coming to school late, but I have something to look forward to in the morning.”

A staff member from Hill Mead said:

“Breakfast Club is important because in a lot of cases, we find children haven’t had anything since the previous day’s school lunch. More children seem to be saying they’re hungry than we have ever had before.”

The Department for Education have no plans to introduce free breakfasts but have said they are happy for schools to use their own resources to provide morning meals for needy pupils. Is there a possibility these new statistics will spur the government to act?

 


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28 Responses to “Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals”

  1. Clive Burgess

    Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals – http://t.co/pWD7jJG1

  2. Clive Burgess

    Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals – http://t.co/pWD7jJG1

  3. teachertomo

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/T1IdGbW5

  4. teachertomo

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/T1IdGbW5

  5. Anonymous

    Yep.

    And the government is taxing the min wage parent 3K a year.

    3,000 a year buys a lot more than that extra meals.

    Government. Making poverty a reality.

  6. deepak abhishek

    Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/Z50zT1pn

  7. deepak abhishek

    Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/Z50zT1pn

  8. Katie Stanton

    The @guardian reports that kids are arriving at school hungry. Not good for govt, who scrapped 500,000 free meals http://t.co/IEt4vmKE

  9. Katie Stanton

    The @guardian reports that kids are arriving at school hungry. Not good for govt, who scrapped 500,000 free meals http://t.co/IEt4vmKE

  10. Brian Tomkinson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xHEueian

  11. Brian Tomkinson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xHEueian

  12. Richard

    It may have escaped your attention that the Government has raised the income tax threshold year on year, to over £9k from next April – well on course to raising it to £10k+ by the end of this parliament. That means that someone earning the minimum wage will have had their income tax more than halved. Of course, there’s still 12% going to national insurance but that’s still an overall cut from 32% (NI+Income) tax to 22% by 2015.

  13. Anonymous

    That’s right, because you refuse to pay your share. If you paid tax, rich man…

  14. Anonymous

    That’s a middle-class tax cut, primarily.

  15. Kevin Richards

    If you don't want hungry children don't vote Tory : Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xrK6xTPB

  16. Kevin Richards

    If you don't want hungry children don't vote Tory : Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xrK6xTPB

  17. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xHEueian

  18. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xHEueian

  19. Carole

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xHEueian

  20. Carole

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xHEueian

  21. Foxy52

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xHEueian

  22. Foxy52

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/xHEueian

  23. Helen

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/T1IdGbW5

  24. Helen

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals http://t.co/T1IdGbW5

  25. Two children in every classroom go hungry | Left Foot Forward

    […] See also: • Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals 20 Jun […]

  26. Deborah Hopkins

    School meals locally cost £47 per month. Low Income Families, in receipt of WTC are not entitled to Free School meals. Low income families (thresh-hold is £16k) not in receipt of WTC are entitled to Free School meals. So working families on the same income as non working families do not receive the same support. School meals are beyond the reach of my budget and my son does not eat as much as he needs as a result.

    It is nauseating to watch middle class twits on this thread squabbling over which poor families should be grateful for their tax bill variations while our life chances and our childrens’ health and futures are being sold off to corporations…. who make a jolly game out of not paying tax and never have to watch their kids go hungry.

  27. Deborah Hopkins

    When the upper income brackets pay the same tax – as a proportion of their total earnings and assets – as the lowest 50% of the population ( earning £24k or less) … we can all feel relieved about the sweeping generosity of this millionaire posh boy’s govt. Will you be buying the champagne then?

  28. IFS: Free school meals for all increased attainment in disadvantaged areas | Left Foot Forward

    […] Hungry pupils? Well, the government did scrap plans for 500,000 free school meals 20 Jun […]

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