‘Children can’t learn on an empty stomach’ – Rogers
SDLP Education spokesperson Seán Rogers has criticized the Social Development Minister for not taking greater notice of the Children’s Commissioner’s report on the impact of welfare reforms on children as well as a similar report from the Children’s Society last week. The South Down MLA was speaking after Patricia Lewsley-Mooney published her report.
Speaking to Newry Times, Rogers said: “Rather than just giving the brush-off to the Commissioner’s report, Minister McCausland and his Executive colleague John O’Dowd need to be facing up to the adverse impact that the Tories’ welfare reform cuts will have on our children and their education. They have obviously not taken into account the Children’s Society report from last week which said that, across the UK, 350,000 children will lose their entitlement to free school meals under the cuts. For many of those children who are eligible, the free school dinner is the only decent meal they get that day and any amount of clinical research will tell you that children do not perform as well at school on an empty stomach.”
“If the Executive wants to play its part in stimulating the economy not only now but for future generations, they need to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that all our children are given every opportunity to excel at school – and that includes factoring in the needs of those from less well-off families,” he added.
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