The Department for Education has today announced that it is increasing funding for holiday clubs for disadvantaged children during the school holidays to £9 million.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, responded: “School leaders will be relieved that the government has recognised the problem of holiday hunger. According to the Children's Society, four million children in the UK go hungry during school holidays. NAHT’s own research shows that schools contribute more than £43m each year to help struggling families with the basics.
“Additional funding to help children from poor families is urgently needed. We therefore welcome the increased funding from the DfE. Though it is very sad that it is necessary. School leaders are seeing more and more hardworking families struggling, and more children living in poverty. We would urge the government to look at the causes of this, as well as trying to provide emergency support.”
Anne Lyons, head teacher and past president of NAHT, said: “Like many school leaders, I worry about what happens to the children in my school during the holidays. During term time, there are all sorts of other experiences that schools provide for young people at low or zero cost to parents that just aren’t available in the holidays. And cuts to local authority budgets now mean that the support they can offer families in the holidays is inadequate.
“Children who go hungry during the holiday often start the new term at a disadvantage compared to their more fortunate peers who have enjoyed a more wholesome diet and lots of activity. We have to change this urgently if we are serious about making the UK a fairer and more equal place to live.”
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