Many teachers say they are also seeing pupils without adequate winter clothing © Getty Images / Peter Dazeley
Over half of teachers in England say the number of students ineligible for free school lunches and unable to afford a meal is increasing, according to research published by the educational charity Sutton Trust on Friday.
The poll carried out by the organization has revealed that 52% of senior leaders in state schools saw the number of those pupils rise during the autumn term, reaching 59% of those in the most deprived schools.
More than half (54%) of state school teachers polled by Sutton Trust said that more children were coming to school without adequate outer clothing, while 74% pointed to a surge in the number of students who were tired or unable to concentrate.
According to the survey, which covered over 6,200 teachers in schools across England, 38% of those polled saw increasing numbers of pupils coming to school hungry, while 17% noticed that the number of families asking to be referred to food banks was growing. Among the most deprived schools, the figures stood at 56% and 27%, respectively.
Over the past year, Britain has been battling a cost-of-living and energy crisis stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, which has been exacerbated by sanctions on Russia along with a decrease in Russian energy supplies to Europe. Consumer spending has been on a steady decline over the past year, with households being forced to cut costs at every turn. The UK annual inflation rate rose to 11.1% in October, the highest rate in 40 years.
Last month, the Bank of England announced the biggest interest rate increase in more than three decades. In a move to curb inflation the key rate was hiked by three-quarters of a percentage point to 3%, the highest since November 2008. The regulator also predicted a “prolonged” recession for the British economy, which it said could be the longest contraction in modern history, with no recovery until 2024.
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