With up to three million school students at risk of the deadly strain of COVID-19, Feeding Britain said today: “Schools are first line of defence against hunger.”
“MPs have estimated three (3) million children are at risk of being hungry in the school holidays – made up of more than a million children who qualify for free school meals, and about 2 million who are disqualified from free school meals because their parents work but remain in poverty.”
Donna Sealey, a charity worker at the Ambition Lawrence Weston food project in Bristol, which fed 175 children over the summer, said: ““If it is a week off, many can scrape along, but a month would be a significant amount of time.
“By the second week, you haven’t got any money or food. We would kick in the programme to do something similar to the six-week school holiday.”
Problems could be worsened because many families relied on money from zero-hours contract work, which meant if they had to look after their children their earnings would dry up.
And teachers have said that “closures are likely to most disadvantage the educations of pupils at state primaries because they lack the IT infrastructure of private schools and state secondaries”.
A recent survey found that “while a majority of state secondary school teachers said they could set work for their pupils remotely, fewer than one in 10 state primary school teachers said their school was able to broadcast lessons to pupils by video”.
“Only about one in six said they had the technology to set and receive work from pupils, according to the survey by the Teacher Tapp app.
“Nearly 30 percent of teachers at primary and secondary independent schools said they already had the capacity to deliver lessons by video.”
On that note, a Guardian education columnist and co-founder of the app, Laura Mclnerney, said: “State schools can’t take for granted that every child has their own device at home and limitless data access.”