Kellogg’s Survey Warns Of Rise In Hungry Pupils Denied Breakfast ‘brain Fuel’
According to a study entitled Lost Education, over 25% of teachers in state schools in England and Wales have seen an increase in the number of children arriving to class hungry and without breakfast in the past 12 months. The report highlights that this issue can result in children missing out on up to eight weeks of primary school learning due to hunger. Kellogg’s commissioned the report and claims that around 2.4 pupils in each class attend school at least once each week without taking breakfast, leading to an increased demand on teachers’ time. Pupils that arrive at school hungry can lose up to one hour of learning time each day because of a lack of concentration skills. If a child misses breakfast once a week for a full academic school year, this can lead to a loss of 36 learning hours. This rises to 8.4 weeks, or 70% of one school term for those aged five to 11 over their entire primary school life.
Insufficient nutrition can have a greater impact on lost learning hours as children reach secondary school because hungry pupils tend to be lethargic and find it difficult to concentrate and learn. Additionally, 26% of teachers have said they have seen children sleep in the classroom due to a lack of food or drink. The results of pupil hunger could affect fellow students in the classroom, causing 55% of teachers to report negative influences on their peers and lost education among all pupils. In a previous survey, Kellogg’s found that one-sixth of teachers admitted to spending up to £25 per month to purchase bread, fruit and snacks for children who attend school without consuming breakfast.
Kellogg’s is using these findings to strengthen their case to expand the network of school breakfast clubs. In the last decade, Kellogg’s established more than 1,000 breakfast clubs, offering over two million breakfasts each year to children who require them most. New clubs receive a £400 cheque or grant, food vouchers and a training pack. Additionally, a separate YouGov survey discovered that 12% of parents do not offer their children breakfast due to lack of time, while 38% say their children do not eat breakfast. However, 52% of parents acknowledge that they don’t have as much money to spend on food as they did last year.
Kellogg’s Chairman, Paul Wheeler, stated that the lack of brain fuel in the morning is a significant problem that has yet to be addressed. Netmums founder, Siobhan Freegard, commented that poverty, the cost of living and chaotic parenting contribute to an increased issue of hungry children attending school. This toxic combination is unacceptable and must be addressed now.