Schools 'now the fourth emergency service'

Three primary schools in Blackpool will remain open over the Christmas holidays for the first time to offer hot meals to pupils from poor families.

Teachers are also delivering food parcels to families, whom they think would otherwise have to choose between food or heating.

Head teacher Stephen Tierney said: "The reality is you feel like you've become the fourth emergency service."

More than 40% of Blackpool's neighbourhoods are ranked as "highly deprived" with 28% of the town's children from low-income families, according to government figures.

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