Teachers say pupils coming to school hungry every day

Teachers Say Pupils Coming To School Hungry Every Day Teachers Say Pupils Coming To School Hungry Every Day
Over half of teachers said they have given food they brought in from home to a child who came to school hungry. Photo: PA Images
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Michael Bolton

Four in 10 teachers in Ireland claim children are arriving to school hungry every day, according to new research conducted by Kellogg Ireland.

According to the study, 78 per cent of teachers said this happens at least once a week.

Teachers said they get 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 200 teachers at primary and secondary level nationwide were surveyed on their experiences of hungry children in their classroom.

More than half said the number of hungry children in their class has increased over the past year. Almost 75 per cent added that 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 felt a lack of food can have a significant impact on a child’s educational progression.


Teachers reported children being tired and said hungry children find it much harder to concentrate in class. Children feeling low or sad, not contributing to class, and disruptive behaviour were also reported.

Time missed 

On average, the study found teachers are losing nearly four hours weekly helping hungry students.

Over 1,000 families around the country were also surveyed as part of the research, which showed the increased cost of living is having a significant impact.

One in four families said they struggle to feed their family and, over the past year, 58 per cent said they used some form of credit more than they did before.

The survey also showed more people are seeking support from services, such as breakfast clubs or food banks, to help them manage the increasing cost of feeding their families.

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The survey also revealed significant levels of shame associated with using food banks, with 63 per cent of people stating they would be too embarrassed to use one themselves.

Community Foundation Ireland's chief executive Denise Charlton said: “Families are struggling to meet the most basic needs. We know from our partners on the ground throughout the country that families face the stark choice between putting food on the table, school clothing or ensuring children have heat and light to do homework.

"Many of our 5,000 voluntary, community and charitable partners are struggling to meet the increased demands for help.

"Donors and supporters who share our mission of equality for all in thriving communities have a real part to play and can make a difference.

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