“Grey skin, poor teeth, poor hair, grubby clothes” were just some of the terms headteachers used to describe poverty hit pupils at the National Education Union conference in Brighton. Headteachers told reporters that malnourished pupils with ‘grey skin’ were being forced to “fill their pockets” with food from school canteens in poor areas due to a worsening poverty situation in the UK.
One headteacher from Cumbria told reporters “Children are filling their pockets with food. In some establishments that would be called stealing. We call it survival”
The Government has said measures are already in place to tackle poverty. However, it is thought the levels of poverty in some areas could be having a detrimental effect on children’s education.
The Department for Education has said that is wants to create a country ‘where everyone could go as far as their talents could take them.” Data from the Child Poverty Action Group though suggests that nine children in every classroom of 30 are falling below the official poverty line. A survey of schools found that nearly half of 900 questioned were obliged to provide anti-poverty services such as a food bank.
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