A primary school head has described how poor children were coming to school starving and some had lost weight when they returned to the classroom after the summer.
In a heartbreaking letter, the anonymous headteacher expressed “disgust and despair” at the decision by Tory MPs to block a Labour bid to extend free school meals over the half term and Christmas breaks.
Her school in Nottingham was open to vulnerable children and key workers’ families during the national lockdown.
She said: “We provided a hot dinner for these children and witnessed children eat quickly as some had not eaten since the day before.”
Teachers had to run a food bank, deliver parcels of supplies and even provide clothing and baby milk to the hardest hit families.
Desperate families came to the school to ask for help, after not being able to qualify for free school meals, she said.
“When the children returned to school, it was apparent that some children had lost weight.
“We have seen first hand, nearly empty lunchboxes with a sandwich or a piece of fruit and nothing else.”
She questioned why MPs did not feel ensuring children were fed should be the “highest priority”.
Labour MP Lilian Greenwood, who tweeted the letter, said: “Today a primary school headteacher in my constituency shared the letter she’d sent to her MP about Free School Meals.
“It’s really powerful so I’m sharing an anonymised version with her permission.
“Heartbreaking and inspiring.”
She urged footballer Marcus Rashford to keep going with his campaign to ensure vulnerable children were fed during the holidays.
The footballer has been lobbying the Government to extend free school meals, which his family relied on when he was growing up.
And he sparked a Twitter storm on Friday by highlighting businesses and councils who were stepping in to feed kids where ministers had failed.