Why I want to hunger-proof our children’s school day

The Liverpool Echo is reporting that local MP Frank Field has launched the latest Feeding Birkenhead programme and claimed it offers a model that could abolish holiday hunger across the country.

…Publishing the programme for this week’s half term holiday, Frank says: “A blueprint is being developed here in Birkenhead which, if it were rolled out across the country, could abolish hunger as we have known it during the school holidays.

“School holidays have increasingly become associated with longer queues at the nation’s food banks.

“Children who usually receive free school meals during term time may then go days on end without a substantial meal, before returning to school ‘visibly thinner’ once the holidays are over.”…

Another of Feeding Birkenhead’s initiatives is being rolled out by the Liverpool City Region Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission, of which Frank is chair, to abolish hunger when children are back in school…

The MP wrote to each Merseyside local authority asking whether they use their Housing Benefit records automatically to identify and then register all eligible children for free school meals…

He said “Poor children are missing out on £440,000 worth of free school meals, to which they are entitled.”…

The Commission estimates on the back of this survey that there are 1,100 poor children across the City Region who are eligible but not registered to receive free school meals. These meals are worth £400 a year to each struggling family and, because it triggers the payment of Pupil Premium grants from the Government, registration yields up to £1,320 a year towards each child’s education…

Frank adds: “If we could gain 100% rollout of this initiative across Merseyside it would save hard-up families a further £440,000 and yield an additional £1.1 million for their schools. The Commission is seeking a City Region-wide commitment on this score by the beginning of the next school year in September, so we can move towards becoming the first region in the country to hunger-proof the school day.”

The next step, he says, is to ensure all children start each day with a breakfast so they are ready for the day and better able to focus in lessons…

More at Why I want to hunger-proof our children’s school day

 

Your thoughts on what Frank Field and the Feeding Birkenhead campaign are doing here, both in terms of holiday and school day hunger?

Any local noteworthy local initiatives you are aware of?

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