More children arriving in school hungry, survey finds

Teachers bringing food to school for children who are regularly hungry

Almost one in five teachers say they have seen an increase in the number of children arriving at school hungry over the past year

Almost one in five teachers say they have seen an increase in the number of children arriving at school hungry over the past year

Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 01:00

Almost one in five teachers say they have seen an increase in the number of children arriving at school hungry over the past year, according to research published today.

The Lost Education study polled more than 500 primary and secondary school teachers last month and more than 39 per cent said they had taken food into school for a child who was regularly hungry.

Some 19 per cent said they saw children arrive hungry for lessons every day while almost one in three teachers said they had seen children fall asleep in the classroom due to a lack of food. The findings of the online poll by Opinion Matters mirror earlier findings in relation to food poverty. A conference organised by the charity Healthy Food for All last November heard one in five Irish children goes to bed or school hungry because there is not enough food in the house.

Barnardos

The latest study was commissioned by a major cereals company to mark a partnership with children’s charity Barnardos. Kellogg’s will help the charity to provide breakfast to children attending its services and those attending Barnardos’ breakfast clubs in schools. It will also help the charity establish a new breakfast club.

“By ensuring children have a nutritious breakfast each morning, we are helping them to concentrate throughout the day, enabling them to learn and achieve their potential in life,” said Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay.

Michael McDonagh of Crosscare, the social support agency of the Dublin archdiocese, said more than a quarter of children under 18 in Ireland live below the poverty line. “We see families visit us on a weekly basis, and the demand is getting bigger,” he said. “Our idea of what food poverty is has completely changed.”