Malnourished children are taking food from school bins to stifle hunger, headteacher says

Parents have come to school in tears saying they have no way of feeding their children

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Friday 11 January 2019 10:48
Comments
Headteacher says food-deprived children search bins for fruit cores

Malnourished children are arriving at school so hungry they are taking food out of the bins, a headteacher says.

Siobhan Collingwood, headteacher of Morecambe Bay Primary School, in Lancashire, said one in 10 of its pupils came from families using food banks.

When children are food deprived it alters their behaviour and they do become quite food obsessed, so we have some children who will be stealing fruit cores from the bins,” the headteacher said.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Collingwood said: “We have children who have nothing in their lunch boxes and children who are just fixated upon food.”

The headteacher said there were currently 35 children at her school whose families are supported by food banks: “It’s probably higher because they are the ones we know about.”

Earlier this week the Environmental Audit Committee highlighted 2017 Unicef figures showing 19 per cent of children under 15 in the UK live with adults who struggle to buy food.

Ms Collingwood said the hunger facing pupils was “heartbreaking” and she had seen parents arrive at school and burst into tears, saying they have no means of feeding their children.

“Families are coming in telling me they are routinely loaning food to each other, my day-to-day experience is telling me this is a growing problem,” she said.

Ms Collingwood said she had noticed more problems since the introduction of universal credit.

Her comments came after a cross-party group of MPs called on the government to appoint a “minister for hunger” to tackle “food insecurity” – especially among young children.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said 1 million people had been lifted out of absolute poverty since 2010 – including 300,000 children.

The spokesperson added: “We already provide support through free school meals and our healthy start vouchers.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in