A headteacher has spoken out to say "too many" of her pupils are living in poverty with no food in the cupboards.
Sarah Bone from Headlands School in Bridlington , has revealed the grim reality as stark new figures show a worrying rise in pupil poverty.
She warned youngsters are living off just the one hot meal they get in school each day, and come to school with ill-fitting clothes and holes in their shoes.
Hundreds of secondary schools in England and Wales have reported a rise in pupil poverty as part of a new survey conducted by the Association of School and College Leaders, Hull Live reports.
The study showed that a staggering 96 per cent of the 407 headteachers surveyed said pupil poverty had increased over the past few years.
Shockingly 91 per cent said they have to provide clothes for disadvantaged pupils and 47 per cent said they even have to wash their pupils’ garments.
Mrs Bone said: “We have far too many children with no heating in the home, no food in the cupboards, washing themselves with cold water, walking to school with holes in their shoes and trousers that are ill-fitted and completely worn out, and living on one hot meal a day provided at school.”
The findings come against a background of intense pressure on school budgets with all but three of the 407 headteachers admitting to having to making cuts since 2015.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, said: “A decade of austerity has wreaked havoc with the social fabric of the nation and schools have been left to pick up the pieces while coping with real-term funding cuts.
“They have become an unofficial fourth emergency service for poor and vulnerable children, providing food and clothing and filling in the gaps left by cut backs to local services.
"Politicians must end their fixation with Brexit and work together to build a new sense of social mission in our country. We simply must do better for struggling families and invest properly in our schools, colleges and other vital public services."
A Government spokesman said: “This Government is spending £90 billion a year on welfare to support those who need it most, we’ve introduced the National Living Wage and helped workers keep more of the money they earn by cutting taxes for 31 million people by an average of £1,000.
"Teachers shouldn’t have to step in to tackle the issues highlighted by this survey, and we’re already taking action to make sure that they don’t have to.”
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