Number of School Food Banks Grow
September 9, 2019
School food banks have increased in the last year as more and more schools up their efforts to help families’ welfare. Food banks remained vital to many families during the summer, and the continuation of such provisions through term-time at schools will prove helpful.
School food banks for term-time
The National Governor’s Association annual survey of 6,000 governors found that 8% of the schools governors surveyed ran a food bank to help student’s families, 1% growth since last year. The prevalence for food banks in schools is higher in the North East of England, rising to 13%.
During the summer holidays, many families across the country have relied on food banks to help them feed their children.
Geoff Barton of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) described it as:
“a shameful situation in a country which is among the wealthiest in the world.”
School welfare responsibility
Schools should care about the development and welfare of our young people in a holistic way. Sadly, with rising poverty schools are having to fill the void and offer more and more basic welfare services to families. The governors described it as one of the biggest growing challenges they face. And Geoff Barton described schools as the new ‘fourth emergency service’. He said:
“[Schools are a] fourth emergency service providing clothing, food and pastoral support to many young people in extremely difficult circumstances. These pupils would not be ready to learn without this support.”
Another survey by the ASCL found that 43% of schools were offering families help with food. These came in the form of food banks, breakfast clubs and food parcels sent home.
Helping schools meet the challenge
In a sector that is struggling with funding and teacher recruitment, the extra challenge of increased welfare provisions is very difficult for many schools to meet. But Geoff Barton is right: schools teaching and learning efforts are worthless if students’ basic needs such as food and nutrition are not meet. School is hard enough as it is, doing it regularly on an empty stomach is impossible.
Technological solutions such as FasTrak help increase the productivity and effectiveness of running the school canteen and other school operations. The challenge for schools is massive, they need all the help they can get. Our identity management solution is designed to cut admin and cut costs throughout a school. Learn more about about our solutions here.