Survey: More than half of teachers see children arrive hungry to school

Survey: More than half of teachers see children arrive hungry to school

A survey by Kellogs claims a fifth of adults in Ireland worry over their food budget and half of teachers surveyed see children arriving to school hungry.

Kelloggs' report, called "Is the Food Divide Getting Bigger?", says that food poverty is "still a harsh reality for many families in Ireland" with 22% of adults worried over the amount of money they have to spend on food.

Families with primary school children are more likely to feel the pressure with 33% concerned over their food budget.

It also reveals that the food poverty rate among lowest income households is as high as 11% while only 4% of highest income groups cite food poverty as an issue.

The report said: "It is clear that despite signs of an economic recovery, lower income families are not seeing any improvement and there is a danger that those marginalised will remain behind."

Teachers are also seeing the impact of food poverty in their schools, according to the report, which shows that 53% of those surveyed noticed children arriving at school hungry at least once a week.

Also, 77% of teachers said, the number of children coming to school hungry has increased in the last 12 months.

June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy at Barnardos, said: "We see parents struggling daily to provide enough food for their family and know parents often sacrifice having meals themselves to ensure their children are fed.

"Arriving to school hungry affects children’s behaviour and mood impacting on their ability to learn and enjoy interactions with classmates and teachers.

"If hungry children aren’t given support to thrive it can also have a knock-on effect on the wider class. More widespread availability of breakfast clubs is needed as they are a proven way to help tackle the issue of food poverty."

Report contributor and Economist, Jim Power, said: "This report demonstrates that food affordability and food poverty are still issues for many.

The overall trend in expenditure on food has reduced since 2008, from a high of €7.95 billion, reflecting the fact that many people have suffered income losses and quite simply do not have as much money to spend on food or anything else for that matter.

"Those on fixed and low incomes have been most badly affected."

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