Whilst learning is at the core of school life, teaching staff in this region and beyond are playing a role in childhood that goes far above the education of our young people.
For some children whose families are struggling to make ends meet, school can be their only source for vital basics including warmth and nutritious food essential for health and development.
Time and again, we hear of the desperate plight of child poverty playing out in educational establishments, with teachers reaching into their own pockets to provide food and clothing. It is scandalous that such generosity is ever needed, but it is received with gratitude year-round, and overwhelmingly at Christmas when many vulnerable children face a festive season relying on food banks, with little to celebrate.
Whilst politicians, and the country as a whole, are caught up in the ongoing Brexit fiasco, and the outcome of next week’s election, the sad reality for around a million children across the country is a December of deprivation.
Leading charity Action for Children is warning that four children in every Yorkshire and the Humber primary class face Christmas in crisis, without such basics as a heated home, winter coat and fresh food. With no free school meals available during the school holidays, it says many low-income families will be struggling to afford lunch for their children.
Whoever takes the reins at 10 Downing Street a week today must urgently bring to the fore ambitious policies to address this scourge of child poverty. It is to this country’s shame that childhoods are being harmed irreparably by such destitution.