Did you know 1 in 3 children in Britain lives in poverty, in London, that’s 4 in 10! That is one of the highest rates in industrialised country: shocking in such a well resourced country. And did you know the government has a commitment to end child poverty by 2020? But under current administration, increasing numbers of children rely on breakfast clubs held at their schools because their parents cannot afford to provide despite working incredibly hard for their families (Yes, in modern Britain).
A breakfast club is a safe place where children can enjoy breakfast with teachers and classmates before school, but it serves a wider purpose just providing breakfast. A study has shown that breakfast clubs are associated with sustained improvement in academic performance! Unfortunately, budget cuts have led to increasing closures of breakfast clubs across the country despite best efforts from charity groups (and even teachers paying out of their own pockets); schools just simply cannot afford to sustain these clubs. Subsequently, children from this vulnerable group are stuck in a vicious cycle of low concentration, behaviour problems, and low attainment. This is a problem with a solution!
In March 2010, Child Poverty Act came into force, which requires the Secretary of State to consider which groups of children in the UK are disproportionately affected by socio-economic disadvantage, and to consider the likely impact of government policy on children in these groups. In other words this gives legal force to the government’s commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020. Issue with breakfast clubs is just the tip of the iceberg. The Institute for Fiscal Studies calculated that if current policies continue, child poverty will rise by an average of around 100,000 each year. It is high time we speak up for this vulnerable group and create change for the better for these children.
At the recent Conservative Party conference, David Cameron said, “I went to a great school and I want every child to have a great education. I'm not here to defend privilege, I'm here to spread it." Then why are there children going to school starved!? What is Cameron and his cabinet doing to sort this!?
This is a public outrage and we must speak up for these children.