One in five schools now operating food banks as cost of living bites

There are now more food banks being operated in schools than outside them as increasing numbers of families face food insecurity.
Essential support: A secondary school store cupboard for tinned foods, cereal, baby food, toilet roll, and nappies used to create parcels for families of pupils in need (image: William Baker/University of Bristol)

One in five schools are now running a food bank, equating to around 4,250 across England. This compares to around 2,800 community food banks being operated by organisations such as the Trussell Trust and the Independent Food Aid Network.

A research report from the University of Bristol (Baker et al, 2024) also reveals that school-based food banks are being established disproportionately in areas of deprivation.

While nationwide, 21% of schools now operate a food bank according to the research, this rises to 33% in deprived areas.

The report states: “This shows the sheer scale of charitable food aid provision in England’s schools.”

The latest poverty statistics show that in 2022/23, 4.3 million children (30%) were living in relative poverty (60% of median income after housing costs) – the highest number since records began in 1994. Of these, 3.6 million (25%) were living in absolute poverty (with an income 60% below the 2011 median).

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here