Hungry children ‘lose eight weeks of school’

Pupils at Grange Park Primary School enjoy the breakfast club.

Pupils at Grange Park Primary School enjoy the breakfast club.

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A SHOCKING new report has revealed children lose eight weeks of their primary education due to being hungry in class.

The latest figures show a quarter of teachers in the North East have seen a child fall asleep in the classroom due to a lack of food or drink.

And, more than 70 per cent believe being hungry at school is a significant factor in a child’s attainment.

Concerned Sunderland headteacher Pauline Wood said the results of the survey, commissioned by Kellogg’s, mirrors her own previous experiences.

Mrs Wood, head of Grange Park Primary School, said: “A lack of breakfast has a knock-on effect on the school day, and subsequently the school year.

“Breakfast is vitally important as it affects so many aspects of a pupil’s learning.

“Children who haven’t eaten before coming to school will often turn up late, disrupting the class and then struggling to concentrate because they are hungry.

“In fact, in the past we have had to make excuses to remove children from the classroom so that we can feed them and have woken up pupils who have fallen asleep because they have had no breakfast.”

The survey revealed 17 per cent of teachers say they have seen an increase in children being sent to school with no breakfast, around 2.4 pupils in each class across the country turn up to school at least once a week without having eaten.

And, the report found that more parents in the North East, 63 per cent, than in any other area of England said they have less money now to spend on food compared with a year ago.

Mrs Wood said since her school introduced a breakfast club, which is sponsored by Kellogg’s and also offers activities such as Wii Fit, karaoke and crafts, they have seen astonishing results.

She said: “Now there are rarely more than two or three children who are late for school each day, as many of them have been to the breakfast club prior to attending class.

“The fact that our children are well fed, combined with the work of the excellent teachers we have here at the school, has led to impressive SATs results.

“That is particularly outstanding when you consider that our school is situated in a location which is in the top 10 per cent of deprived areas in the country.”

Kellogg’s has set up more than 1,000 breakfast clubs and today launched its nationwide ‘Help Give a Child a Breakfast’ campaign to donate two million breakfasts to schools in the most deprived areas.

l For more information visit www.giveachildabreakfast.co.uk.