Why Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals means more than you might think for school children, and why politicians ought to be made to shadow teachers in schools in deprived areas for a week to understand.

First published in June 2020.

A 13 yr old boy in my tutor group called Sinan (not his real name) once started crying because he’d lost his pound during the day. He was upset because that was his dinner.

Without it he’d have to wait until school breakfast club the next day for a meal... 1/5

My tutor group had one of the best attendance/punctuality rates because I had a toaster in my classroom (not PAT tested and eventually confiscated)

I made toast & butter & jam for my boys on normal mornings, and brought in fruit & brioche on GCSE exam mornings. 2/5

A lot of boys would find Fridays and the last day of term the worst time because they’d have to wait until school started again to eat properly.

70% of the boys at my school were eligible for free school meals.


They were always generous. They’d share food in the canteen and split break time pizza baguette slices three, four ways.

As a young teacher, I soon realised I didn’t need the rewards and sanctions system to keep kids working and well behaved.

I just needed biscuits.


So back to Sinan and his lost pound...

Another boy - not a friend of his - covertly flicked a pound coin out of his pocket and said, ‘Here it is, I found it.’ He knew what that pound meant.

@MarcusRashford has just done that for 1.3m kids.



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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 17 June 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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