1. ITV Report

Teachers' union claim more pupils falling into poverty

General view of a classroom Photo: PA

A study by the country's largest teaching union has found more children are turning up to school hungry and unable to pay attention in class.

The NASUWT surveyed 4000 of its members, around a quarter of which said they worked in an 'average' area in terms of deprivation.

Twenty-seven percent said they had brought in food for hungry pupils themselves and 63% said they had lent or given pupils school equipment.

Housing was reported as a significant problem, with 27% of respondents saying they knew of pupils who had lost their homes, and 36% saying they had taught pupils who were living in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs and hostels.

The NASUWT is holding its annual conference in Birmingham Credit: PA

The union is blaming the Coalition Government's social and economic policies for the apparent rise in children being under prepared for school.

According to the charity Child Poverty Action 3.5 million children live in poverty in this country with the figure set to rise by 600,000 by 2015/16 as a result of this Coalition Government's policies.

Today the NASUWT will set up a Food Bank at its conference at the ICC in Birmingham, where it's asking delegates to donate food which will be shared among four local food banks in the West Midlands.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

"These are shocking, shameful and heartbreaking statistics. The lives of children and young people are being degraded by poverty and homelessness.

Department for Education statement Credit: DFE

In response to the claims, the Department for Education said the Government is introducing a number of measures to help families who are struggling financially. In a statement a spokesperson said:

"We are taking decisive action to support disadvantaged pupils and close the attainment gap between them and their peers. Around 1.3million children currently receive a free, nutritious meal at school.

We are extending this to all five to seven-year-olds in state maintained schools from September and allocating more than £1million to help schools establish more breakfast clubs.

"We have invested in the Pupil Premium, raising it from £625million in 2011-12 to £2.5billion in 2014-15. This is giving schools the additional resources they need to raise disadvantaged pupils' attainment, and give them a better start in life.

"We are also helping families with childcare costs and providing free early years provision for 260,000 disadvantaged two year olds, giving them a vital opportunity to learn."