51% rise in Scottish children going to school hungry, stealing food – survey
Crippling government austerity measures are forcing schoolchildren in Scotland to go hungry, steal food from their peers and develop mental health issues, teachers have claimed.
An Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) survey, which quizzed more than 300 primary and secondary school teachers about life in Scottish schools in 2015, found there had been a 51 percent rise in the number of children going to school hungry.
One in five respondents identified an increase in the number of times pupils stole food from their peers and asked teachers for sustenance, according to the findings.
The EIS also reported a 22 percent rise in the number of children older than the P3 age group, which ranges from 6 to 8, taking free school meals.
Attendance at free breakfast clubs increased by 27 percent, with a 7 percent increase in the number of parent referrals to food banks, findings show.
“It’s not unusual for students to steal food from the staff room because they haven’t been given a packed lunch,” one secondary school teacher from Edinburgh, who chose to remain anonymous, told the EIS.
“There’s an unbelievable level of poverty which I see every day,” the teacher added.
It appears the hunger crisis had also caused pupils to develop mental health issues.
Nearly three quarters of teachers surveyed said they had noticed a 71 percent increase in the number of children displaying signs of anxiety, stress and low mood.
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