Teachers are seeing more cases of child poverty in schools with  hungry youngsters begging for food.

A poll of 739 teachers found 62% have seen an increase in hungry pupils since 2015 and in primary schools it is 71%.

Some 36% said they had bought food for kids who cannot afford it, 57% school equipment, such as stationery, and 21% items of school uniform.

The National Education Union survey revealed that more children had come into school having not eaten, some “for days” and more families used foodbanks.

Some teachers reported that 58% of pupils were dirty or unwashed and 42% were keen to cover up their home lives.

The majority of teachers have seen an increase in hungry pupils since 2015 (file image)

Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general  secretary, said: “This is the reality of austerity, and it is lived by too many
children and their families each day.

“We must tackle the scourge of child poverty as a matter of urgency.”

Earlier this week, researchers from the University of Leeds published a study which found that students who said they rarely ate breakfast achieved nearly two grades lower than those who ate breakfast every day.

A lack of food can have a detrimental impact on pupil's performance

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Dr Katie Adolphus, who led the study, said: “Our study suggests that secondary school students are at a disadvantage if they are not getting a morning meal to fuel their brains for the start of the school day.

"The UK has a growing problem of food poverty, with an estimated half a million children arriving at school each day too hungry to learn. Previously we have shown that eating breakfast has a positive impact on children's cognition.