Howard Payne, a head at an inner city school in Portsmouth, said there had been a four-fold increase in the number of children with child protection issues.
“Every one of these issues has had something to do with the poverty that they live in,” he said.
“It’s neglect. It’s because they and their families don’t have enough money to provide food, heating or even bedding.”
Mr Payne, who provides debt counselling and family support at his school, said: "Three weeks ago, many schools in our area closed because of the snow.
“I kept ours open because I was really worried about the children - that they wouldn’t have a hot meal to eat that day.”
He said about 45% of pupils came into the school to eat that day.