Parents Queue At 3Am To Get Their Children Into Breakfast Clubs!

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MORE than 130 parents queued outside a school in Cardiff, Wales from 3am Thursday morning to try and get their child a space at a breakfast club next year. Every year, Ysgol Y Berllan Deg in Llanedeyrn opens up applications for its before-school breakfast club, which has limited spaces.

The breakfast club is a government scheme aimed at providing primary school children with the chance to get a free breakfast at school each day. The desperation of the parents to get their child into the breakfast club is two-fold. Firstly, after over a decade of Tory austerity and cuts, families have been driven into such poverty that they cannot afford to feed their children.

Secondly, as jobs become harder and harder to find, parents are commuting miles to go to work. They have to drop their child off at school at 7am just so that they can get into work on time. Tory cuts to in-work benefits, sky-high rents and spiralling gas, electric, water and council tax, not to mention hikes in the cost of food, have driven millions of workers into poverty. You now have the emergence of the ‘working poor’ and even the ‘working homeless’ where people work a day job and sleep in night shelters or on the streets at night.

One parent, Leanne Taylor, who had been queuing outside Ysgol Y Berllan Deg in Cardiff since 3.30am to register for breakfast club, said she had no back-up plan. ‘I have two children, one of whom is starting in reception in September. For some it is essential. I work opposite Tredegar House and I drive in. If I drop them off at 8.30 I won’t be getting into work until 10 because of the traffic. If I didn’t have this I would not be able to go to work. I can’t risk not getting a place, I don’t have a plan B.’

Meanwhile, food banks in Wales have been bracing themselves for a surge when schools break up next week. Welsh councillors have warned that more children than ever will go hungry over the six-week school break.

Bernie Attridge, the deputy leader of Flintshire council, said: ‘In the 21st century, I think it’s incredibly sad that children are going hungry. During term time they can go to breakfast clubs and they get free school dinners, but once they break up, it’s frightening to think that some families can’t afford food.’

Under the Tory government, society is being driven back to the Victorian era with the horror of starving children in dire poverty and slum housing conditions. In fact, childhood diseases which were all but wiped out are back – diseases where children’s bones, skin and muscles do not develop properly; diseases like rickets and scurvy … a direct result of poor nutrition and abject poverty.

Not only are the Tories bringing back Victorian poverty amongst schoolchildren, but they are enforcing a Victorian-style education. It is learn by rote, mass classrooms, constant tests and forced expulsions. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said that there has been an 8% cut in funding for England’s schools since 2010, and 5% for Wales in the same period.

Tory cuts have meant that with a severe lack of teachers, schoolchildren are being packed into classrooms like sardines. Schoolchildren are already spending much of their school life preparing for exams. SATs exams at the age of 7 and 11 years old are so hated by teachers, parents and pupils alike that there has been a mass boycott.

Now the government want to bring in ‘Baseline Assessments’, tests that children will have to do when they first start school aged 4 or 5. Ken Jones, from the National Education Union said: ‘Baseline tests will not only be unreliable and invalid, but threaten to do harm to young children’s education.’ Schools are becoming exam factories!

The Department for Education figures show a 15% rise in the number of pupils expelled from state schools between 2015-6 and 2016-7, from 6,685 to 7,720. That’s 40 a day! The only way to stop society being driven backwards is for the working class to bring down this Tory government and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers whose profits and fortunes have never been bigger.

What workers and the middle class require is a planned socialist economy where the wealth is not expropriated by a handful of bosses and bankers but flows back into society to provide schools, universities and jobs for all, putting an end to the working poor. Only the WRP fights for this perspective. Join it today!