Irish teachers express concerns about number of children coming to school hungry
67% say hungry children find it much harder to concentrate in class.
Irish teachers have expressed their concerns about the number of children going to school hungry.
New research by Kellogg Ireland has discovered that 40% of teachers are seeing children arrive at school hungry on a daily basis.
78% of teachers say this happens at least once a week.
211 teachers at primary and secondary level around Ireland were surveyed between January 12th and February 1st, 2023 about their experiences of hungry children in their classroom.
More than half of them say the number of hungry children in their class has increased over the past year, while 73% say the issue has become more common in recent years.
When it comes to the impact of hunger on a child’s learning, nearly two-thirds of teachers say a lack of food can have a significant impact on a child’s educational progression. Going to school hungry makes it harder for children to focus in class. It also makes them feel low or sad and prevents them form contributing to class.
Teachers say they are worried and upset when they know a child in their class is hungry with over half saying they have given a child food they brought in from home.
Over a thousand families around Ireland were also surveyed as part of the research which showed the increased cost of living is having a significant impact. One in four families struggles to feed their family.
Half of teachers have given a child food they brought in from home.
The survey also showed more people seeking support from services, such as breakfast clubs or food banks to help them manage the increasing cost of feeding their families.
Commenting on the research, General Manager Kellogg Ireland, Sarah Ferguson said: “The findings of this piece of research are startling. It is so alarming to see how many people are struggling as a result of the increased cost of living. Our data in relation to what teachers are experiencing with children coming into school hungry is particularly worrying.
"At Kellogg we work hard to ensure that we serve the communities in which we operate, which is why across Europe we donate in excess of €2 million per year and support almost 1,000 breakfast clubs and food banks. It’s an important part of who we are as a company and how we work with partners to support families in need. It’s also very clear that it’s more important than ever that we continue to do this work."