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Kids not getting enough to eat in school holidays, Kellogg survey reveals

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 September 2014

Serving up school meals in term time... Stepney's Ben Johnson Primary

Serving up school meals in term time... Stepney's Ben Johnson Primary

Kois Miah/TH Council

More than one-in-10 children are not getting enough to eat in the school holidays, according to a survey of teachers.

Term time breaks put a burden on the food budget of a third of all parents, with a-quarter struggling to feed their children three meals a day, a study by the Kellogg Foundation has found.

The survey based on teachers’ observations in past years included pupils showing signs of weight loss when they return for the new term.

It reveals 44 per cent of teachers are worried that some pupils didn’t get enough to eat in the holidays. Another 43pc noticed signs of weight loss, while 79 per cent have seen a difference in readiness to learn when they return for the new term.

A pilot holiday breakfast club programme was run by the foundation with the Mayor’s Fund for London, providing food and social activities during the holidays.

There were five clubs set up across east London in Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney and Newham, feeding 360 children a day.

“School holidays can be challenging for parents whose children receive free meals in term time or support from breakfast clubs,” Mayor’s Fund chief executive Matthew Patten said.

“So we provided a fun environment for kids to have something to eat and play with friends.”

Kellogg has been involved in setting up school breakfast clubs in term time for the past 14 years—but there is a gap during the holidays because children spend 170 days out of school compared to 190 days in the classroom.

The cerial manufacturer’s UK managing director Jonathan Myers said: “We will continue investing in the breakfast club programme and will also explore new ways of helping struggling families.”

The holiday club pilot scheme was part of the Help Give a Child a Breakfast project to feed 80,000 families a day for the next year. Around 85 per cent of schools now have breakfast clubs in term time.

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