Children are eating rubbers and stealing food from their classmates because they are so hungry in school, teachers have reported.
More than 80 per cent of primary school teachers polled by the charity Chefs in Schools said children are coming to school hungry because their families cannot afford food. A quarter said children are skipping lunch entirely due to poverty.
“The situation is appalling and getting so much worse,” Naomi Duncan, chief executive of charity Chefs in Schools, said. “Schools are again on the front line, seeing the impact of more families unable to afford nutritious food.”
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The report found it’s often the children whose parents just miss the cut off for financial help who suffer the most. Currently, around 800,000 children living in poverty are not eligible for free school meals.
Teachers said pupils were “often unwell due to the lack of nutrients in their food at home”, while others noticed children were “eating things such as rubbers to have something in their tummies”.
One teacher added: “Children have stolen snacks from other children because they’re hungry and it’s not fair that they’re then tarnished with being a thief by other children when their basic needs should be met.”