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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-01-07

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Hunger hinders teen learning

A shocking new study has revealed 82% of teachers in Britain see teens arriving for school hungry every day. Worryingly nearly 4 in 10 teachers, surveyed by Kellogg's, believed one reason children in their class were hungry was due to their parents being unable to afford food for breakfast. Nearly ½ of the 500 UK secondary teachers' surveyed claimed kids aged 11 to 16 failed to understand why they need breakfast to help them learn.  The study also found teachers battling with hungry teenagers in the classroom were often left dealing with kids unable to concentrate (73%), an increase in misbehaviour (28%) or grumpiness from class members (34%) in the mornings. When asked how many minutes of learning the average hungry teen loses a day, teachers estimated a shocking 51 minutes, that's approximately 10 hours and 20 minutes, if they go to school with an empty tummy once a week for a whole school term. More than 1 in 10 teachers believed this could have a long term impact on kids' GCSE results, with 20% believing 1 child's hunger could disrupt the learning of others in the class. A further study by Kellogg's found nearly ½ of the 1,000 children surveyed had attended a Breakfast Club in Primary School, but only a 5th go to a morning school club to get something to eat before class at High School. School Breakfast Clubs ensure children get something to eat before starting the school day so they can perform at their best.

Head of research at The Children's Food Trust, Jo Nicholas, supports more healthy breakfast provision, said:- "Secondary education sees our young people maturing into adulthood, going through stressful exams and often choosing a life career path. All these things are hard to do when you are hungry and teens are often the forgotten age group when it comes to hunger. The survey results would indicate that a Breakfast Club for young people in secondary education, particularly those who need it most, would still be a wise investment. Like all other school food provision, breakfasts need to be healthy as what children eat now determines their future health."

Breakfast Clubs have been shown to improve attendance, concentration and learning in children. The research also revealed that around 1 in 10 children feel too ashamed to eat in front of their friends, potentially putting them off attending a Breakfast Club before school. 

UK managing director for Kellogg's, Dave Lawlor, said:- "Kellogg's has been supporting Breakfast Clubs in schools for 19 years providing funding, cereal donations and training to a network of 3,000 Breakfast Clubs across the UK.  We would encourage our stakeholders to look at ways we can increase Breakfast Club support to help boost the provision from Primary School to Secondary School."


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