School clubs for hungry pupils need funds, warn teachers
Children will continue to go to school hungry unless more is done to promote breakfast clubs and other initiatives, teachers have warned.
A study has revealed that two in every five teachers has noted an increase in the number of students turning up to school without having had a proper breakfast.
And 76pc of teachers surveyed said not enough was being done to tackle the problem of students going hungry in the classroom.
Tánaiste Joan Burton, who yesterday visited a breakfast club in Blakestown Community College in Dublin 15, said funding would continue to be "prioritised" for the development of such clubs.
The warning from teachers comes as a new scheme to celebrate the success of breakfast clubs is launched.
There are now more than 500 such clubs operating in schools around the country.
The clubs offer children a chance to get a healthy start to the day and have been particularly successful in schools based in more deprived communities.
The Kellogg's Breakfast Club Awards will honour schools and individuals who run the clubs every morning.
The awards are open to schools and community groups nationwide with each club in with a chance of winning up to €1,500 to support their work.
Speaking at the launch in Blakestown, where she met students participating in the scheme, Ms Burton said she had increased her department's funding for the school meals programme by €2m this year.
"This is something that is a priority for my department. Officials are currently processing applications for this academic year and funding is being prioritised for breakfast clubs," she said.
Kellogg's, which supports 120 breakfast clubs, said it was "a crying shame" that so many children go to school hungry.
Entries for the awards can be made via email at breakfastclub awards@murray consultants.ie