Read the food foundation's 'superpowers of free school meals' evidence pack
This Evidence Pack presents key data and evidence on Free School Meals (FSM) gathered from a range of independent sources. The intention is to demonstrate to policymakers the evidence that investment in FSM makes sense socially, morally and economically.
children are going hungry in our schools.
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83% of teachers said children were coming to school hungry because their parents couldn’t afford enough food
79% saw children bring packed lunches with insufficient amounts of food
23% said children were skipping lunch entirely due to poverty
53% said schools were subsidising the cost of feeding children
85% said children ineligible for Free School Meals would benefit from receiving them
What’s the impact on kids?
Teachers told us hungry pupils showed excessive tiredness, were easily distracted, some were disruptive and some children were anxious.
Teachers surveyed were asked if there are any additional details/experiences which they wanted to share regarding child hunger and school food?
“Children are often unwell due to the lack of nutrients in their food at home.”
“It’s often the children whose parents just miss the cut off for financial help who suffer the most.”
“…when I did work in state schools I found that children were either stealing food from others or eating things such as rubbers to have something in their tummies. Too many families live on the poverty line.”
“Children have stolen snacks from other children because they’re hungry and it’s not fair that they’re then tarnished with being a thief by other children when their basic needs should be met.”
“It’s so prevalent and it’s a disaster. Children don’t have any meals at home. I’m buying food for them myself.”
“Children deserve to be fed because food helps them thrive.”
The Government can change this by expanding eligibility to all households receiving Universal Credit. The change would more than pay for itself – returning £1.38 for every pound spent over 20 years.
Kids in England are the worst off – eligibility thresholds here for free school meals are the UK’s strictest – only families earning under £7,400 qualify. In Northern Ireland, the threshold is £14,000. In Wales & Scotland all primary school children qualify. We need a fairer system.