Education secretary Damian Hinds has announced £26m of funding to provide greater access to school breakfast clubs.
Two charities have been appointed to run the clubs; Magic Breakfast and Family Action. As well as provide breakfast clubs in schools, the charities will look at how they can encourage more children to attend breakfast programmes and improve collaboration and sharing of best practice across schools.
“A healthy breakfast can help fuel children’s concentration so they can get the most out of their school day,” said Hinds. “Children only get one chance at an education and they deserve the best, whatever their background. That is why we are giving more pupils in some of the country’s most disadvantaged areas the chance to go to a breakfast club.”
Magic Breakfast ran the Department for Education (DfE)’s previous breakfast club programme and has supported clubs to over 31,500 children across 550 schools. Family Action supports 45,000 of the most vulnerable families each year.
The provision will be funded through the soft drinks industry levy, the DfE says, and will benefit over 1,770 schools across the country, targeted to the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the DfE’s Opportunity Areas.
The government has been a long-time supporter of breakfast clubs in schools and had planned to axe Universal Infant Free School Meals in exchange for a cheaper programme providing breakfasts, before the industry and the public fought for the retention of Universal Infant Free School Meals. But the government says that a healthy breakfast can help boost children’s attainment by improving their memory and concentration.
Fiona Pickering, headteacher at Windsor Community Primary School in Toxteth, Liverpool, said: “Our free breakfast club is absolutely vital for our school! Children now start the day having had a healthy breakfast and time to socialise and chill, meaning that they are emotionally and physically equipped for the day ahead. It is, without doubt, one of the best parts of the extended provision we offer.”
The new clubs will start this spring, offering a healthy morning meal and extra-curricular activities to improve children’s learning.