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Child poverty: Teachers report some pupils ‘not eating for two days’ | UK News



Teachers have reported some of their pupils “have not eaten for two days” as concerns over child poverty continue to rise, a survey has revealed.

A “significant increase” in child poverty has been reported by education figures, including children arriving at school with holes in their shoes.

The findings are part of a UK survey of more than 8,000 teachers, school leaders and support staff ahead of the National Education Union’s (NEU) annual conference in Liverpool this week.

More than of members said students had experienced hunger (57%) as a result of poverty.

One teacher reported that “most of my class arrive at school hungry and thirsty”, while another said that “some students have mentioned that they have not had any food for two days, some come without having breakfast and with no dinner money but are not on free school meals”.

Parents unable to buy new clothes or keep them clean was another concern, with reports of children arriving at schools with “holes in their shoes or cheap shoes which are not weather proof… with no coats, no socks and without other essential items of clothing”.

NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted said the government was “failing to recognise the human costs of its actions” over austerity policy.

Dr Bousted said: “Government does not want to hear these stories from the frontline of teaching, but they must.

“It is truly shaming for the UK, one of the richest countries in the world.

“A decade of austerity has only served to place more children in poverty, while at the same time destroying the support structures for poor families.”

Nadhim Zahawi, minister for children and families, acknowledged “some families need more help”.

He said: “While all infant children can benefit from our Universal Infant Free School Meals programme, we are making sure that more than a million of the most disadvantaged children are also accessing free school meals throughout their education – saving families around £400 per year.”

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