Child poverty hitting our school pupils is a disgrace

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Getting a good education is something every child deserves – it’s a key cornerstone to a successful life.

But how on earth are children meant to get this head start when they’re too hungry to think, too poor to wash – too exhausted to learn?

Sadly that is the dire situation facing so many more pupils across the nation and in Portsmouth now.

As The News reports today, the headteacher of Wymering’s Medina Primary School admitted he was so concerned about the crisis that he kept his school open during a snowstorm – to make certain impoverished pupils would get at least one hot meal.

His story is by no means a unique one in the city or in the UK. As a conference of primary school leaders in Brighton showed, it is a national epidemic.

Children are so poor they are having to wear their school uniform at weekends because those are the only clean clothes they have.

The government insists it is doing all it can to address the situation. But frankly, what is going on nationally, as well as in Portsmouth, is disgraceful.

The situation is the unwanted child of crippling austerity measures thrust upon the UK in the wake of the recession a decade ago.

Political parties will be quick to blame one another, with rhetoric and feisty words. But ultimately, they’re all to blame, in one way or another.

It is always communities that have the least that are hit hardest. And if things don’t change soon, there is a risk it will create a vicious circle of poverty that families will be stuck in.

So today, The News is demanding Whitehall and councils across the UK to step up their actions to support those families on the breadline, desperately trying to make ends meet.

As a paper, we welcome Penny Mordaunt’s comments that more will be done. But words are cheap – action is vital. And action is what is so urgently needed to help address this crisis which is only getting worse.