Teachers fear a rise in hunger in children returning to school in September – Magic Breakfast Survey

Magic Breakfast is a charity that provides school breakfasts to vulnerable children.

They conducted a survey which assessed teacher’s views on how food insecurity, in the context of COVID-19, has affected children’s ability to learn. It also assessed teacher’s support for school breakfasts. You can find the press release, including a link to a report with full results from the survey, here: https://bit.ly/2OwxYvJ

The survey found:

  • 57% of teachers surveyed anticipate there will be an increase in the number of children arriving at school hungry in September 2020, compared to September 2019. In schools with above average levels of disadvantage, this rises to 64% of teachers.
  • 64% of teachers surveyed think that hunger will harm efforts to catch children up on the learning they missed out on during school closures. This rises to 79% of teachers in schools with above average levels of disadvantage.

The survey also asked teachers what policies they support to tackle child hunger. Teachers overwhelmingly want firm action taken to ensure children at risk of hunger have access to a free school breakfast. The survey found that:

  • 86% of teachers surveyed support a nationwide programme to ensure children at risk of hunger have access to a free breakfast during the school term.
  • 74% of teachers surveyed believe that school breakfasts will help children catch up on learning. This rises to 83% of teachers in schools with above average levels of disadvantage.

These findings reinforce previous research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Education Endowment Foundation which found that Year 2 pupils in schools with a universal, free school breakfast provision made two months’ additional academic progress in one year, compared to children in schools with no such breakfast provision.

In light of the survey results, Magic Breakfast’s CEO, Alex Cunningham, has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, to call for urgent action on school breakfasts. Magic Breakfast is calling on the Government to bring forward school breakfast legislation to guarantee schools with high levels of disadvantage the long term, sustained support they need to provide free school breakfasts to children at risk of hunger.

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