- Pupils are turning up at school without socks and coats, teachers say
- Two thirds of teachers have seen pupils coming to school hungry
- Some teachers are resorting to bringing their own food to feed children
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said children were turning up at school hungry
Children are arriving at school hungry and cold amid a return to 'Victorian conditions' at home, a teachers' union has said.
Schools and teachers are increasingly having to deal with children turning up without socks or coats and having missed breakfast, the NASUWT said.
Some teachers are even resorting to bringing their own food to school to give to children.
Two thirds of teachers have now seen pupils coming to school hungry, the union said.
One unnamed teacher said: 'Children in 2015 should not be hungry and coming to school with no socks on and no coats - some children are living in Victorian conditions - in the inner cities.'
Almost one in four of the teachers who responded said they had brought in food for pupils who were hungry, and an even higher proportion had seen the school feeding pupils.
More than three in four had seen pupils arriving at school with 'inappropriate clothing' such as no socks or coats in bad weather.
Children are also being sent home with letters about unpaid school meals and pupils who were sick were still being sent to school because parents could not afford to take time off work, the union said.
The revelations emerged after the union surveyed its members their experiences in the classroom.
'Poverty and homelessness take a physical and emotional toll on children. They often cannot concentrate when they are in school because they are tired and hungry, have no space to do homework,' said NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates.
'Schools cannot be expected to pick up the pieces.'
Speaking at her own union's conference in Harrogate, National Union of Teachers president Philipa Harvey said: 'Many of us will have provided breakfast for children so that they can cope with the demands of a school day as well as the teachers and other staff who are providing school uniform, books, coats.'
A Liberal Democrat spokesman said that as part of the coalition government they had introduced 'free early years education for the poorest two year olds, and free school meals for all infant children'.
'We agree that there is more to do to ease the squeeze on family budgets and build a fairer society. We will cut income tax by a further £400 for low and middle earners, and ensure more families can access free childcare.
'Free school meals help children learn, make sure children eat more healthy food, and save parents money. So we will also aim to extend free school meals to all children in primary school.'
Labour's Tristram Hunt, speaking to the NASUWT conference, had pledged that Labour would renew the aim to eradicate child poverty by 2020
A Conservative spokesman said under the coalition government 'the number of children living in poverty has fallen by 300,000'.
He added that because of the pupil premium, the poorest pupils are getting an extra £2.5bn targeted at their education each year, which is already closing the attainment gap with their peers.
'Because of our policies, there are more jobs than ever before, wages are rising faster than prices and with the lowest inflation on record, family budgets are starting to go further.
'The NASUWT should recognise how the Conservatives have rescued the economy, and through that, delivering the jobs that secure a better future for families.'
Labour's Tristram Hunt, speaking to the NASUWT conference, had pledged that Labour would renew the aim to eradicate child poverty by 2020.
He told delegates: 'If a child has no food to eat, no safe and warm space to call their own, no books to read, no uniform to wear, no money for transport to school, then that child cannot possibly be learning at their full potential.'