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Teachers at London schools claim pupils are starting the day hungry because their parents are unable to afford breakfast.

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More than three quarters of the 164 headteachers and staff who took part in a London Assembly survey said they had been forced to step in and help as a result.

Of those, 61 per cent said they had paid for food for pupils from their own pocket.

Other findings revealed around one fifth of those questioned said between 11 and 15 pupils in each class went without breakfast, and 19 per cent gave food to pupils regularly.

The majority of those questioned believed going to school hungry affected pupils’ concentration.

The survey was part of the assembly’s health and environment committee’s investigation into food poverty in the capital, which is also looking at a growing demand for food banks and breakfast clubs.

Labour’s Fiona Twycross AM, said: “I think most people will share my concern about the shocking numbers of children going hungry across the capital. “Thank goodness for caring teachers who pay for food for hungry pupils out of their own pockets – although it is scandalous that they have to in this day and age.

“What worries me even more is what is happening during the school holidays when this extra help isn’t available.”

A report will be published early next year.

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