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Almost 1 in 10 School Staff Bring Food For Hungry Kids

Tuesday, October 2, 2018



Staff regularly fork out to feed pupils who don’t get enough to eat at home according to GMB survey

Almost one in 10 school staff brings food in from home to feed kids who would otherwise go hungry, a shocking GMB study has found.

GMB surveyed thousands of classroom based school support staff up and down the country - 8 per cent of whom felt they have to spend their own money on food for hungry children.

Staff report children coming to school without having eaten breakfast, or with no money for food at break times.  [See note 1 for full testimonies from school staff]

More than half school support staff in the survey said they were spending their own money on things for the children - including tampons, pens, pencils, books, toilet paper and toys for break time. [2]

A whopping 78% of staff say their school has been forced to make ‘significant financial cut backs’ as Conservative underfunding of education bites.

The shocking statistics come from a nationwide survey of members.

More than 4,600 school support staff responded to the question ‘Have you felt obliged to spend your own money on things for the children (food, toilet paper, brought resources from home etc)’

Meanwhile figures uncovered by GMB Union from the Department for Education’s own previously unpublished analysis reveal up to 2.6 million children could lose out on free school meals by 2022 thanks to Government plans. [3]

Karen Leonard, GMB National Officer, said:

“It beggars belief that in one of the richest countries in the world not only are kids coming into school starving – but this government is cutting free school dinners at the same time.

“Hungry children cannot learn effectively – Conservative cuts to education are endangering the future of an entire generation of young people.

“Meanwhile dedicated staff are left out of pocket because they refuse to allow kids to go hungry.

“It’s a scandal – and only properly funding our schools can give our kids the education they deserve.


Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to Editors

 [1] Testimony of GMB school staff members

  • School dinners are absolutely tiny, therefore any extra food we have at home is taken into school for the children.
  • Breakfast cereal as we are in a deprived area where children often arrive having had no breakfast. Also books for the classroom as we no longer have a school library service.
  • I often purchase sandwiches, biscuits etc in order to provide food for those pupils who haven’t had any breakfast: lunch / otherwise, they go without.
  • The budget is extremely tight and the kitchen will only prepare a certain amount of food.  If the children do not have enough money for a lunch or do not like/drop their lunch they often do not get another one.
  • Spent lots of my own money on buying  resources for the children including breakfast.
  • I have bought some children fruit in the morning as they often come to school without having breakfast.
  • I regularly buy biscuits and snacks for children who have nothing for their mid morning break.
  • Children not fed so bring in food. Students have no pens so lend them out.
  • Pupils had started eating fruit last year, that was cut back, so when they asked, to stop them buying crisps I would sometimes buy fruit.
  • Without the extra things that I buy with my own money, the children would not have the healthy food options



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