NAHT encourages politicians to take note of and take action on ‘Holiday Hunger’
Today (January 19) is the second reading of Frank Field MP’s private members bill to provide free meals and activities for children during school holidays. NAHT’s National President, Anne Lyons believes that ‘Holiday Hunger’ is an issue that unites politicians and urges them to vote in favour of the Bill.
Anne Lyons, national president of NAHT, the union which represents the majority of school leaders in the UK says: “Like many school leaders, I worry about what happens to the children in my school during the holidays. According to the Children’s Society, there are four million children in the UK suffering the unnecessary tragedy of holiday hunger.
“NAHT’s own analysis from 2015 showed that schools were contributing around £43m each year to help struggling families with the basics. That figure is unlikely to have decreased given that the cost of living continues to rise faster than wages.
“Holidays can be a time of enormous stress for families, particularly the ones that rely on their school for support with childcare, activities and heaven forbid, food. 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. This forces families to dig even deeper into their pockets during the holidays, with financial commitments to activities running to hundreds of pounds in lots of cases.
“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.”