Nadhim Zahawi with pupils
Surge in schools enrolled on National School Breakfast Programme
06/11/2018 - 06:00
Latest figures reveal that 500 new schools have signed up to Family Action and Magic Breakfast’s National School Breakfast Programme since March, providing ‘thousands’ more children a ‘healthy and nutritious’ start to the day.

This comes from Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who said that figures show that 15,000 breakfasts are now served to children across the UK everyday, and that 500 new or improved breakfast clubs have signed up to the programme – with more than 150 already up and running.

It follows the Education Secretary’s announcement (March) that up to £26 million will be invested in Family Action and Magic Breakfast ‘to run clubs to improve breakfast for pupils in more than 1,700 schools by 2020,’ funded by the soft drinks industry levy.

The programme focuses on the most disadvantaged parts of the country, including the government’s 12 Opportunity Areas, with the UK government calling on more schools to join the programme.

Not only has the free, nutritious morning meal proven to boost primary schools pupils’ reading, writing and maths results, but many clubs also offer children the chance to be more active and provide extra-curricular activities (such as extra reading sessions) to improve their learning the government said.

Its drive to get more schools and organisations enrolled on the breakfast scheme forms part of the government’s wider aim to help children “lead healthier lives and support the country’s most disadvantaged families’.

Zahawi said: “We want every child to have the best possible start in life and that means getting the best possible start to their day. It’s fantastic to see the positive effect that new breakfast clubs are having across the country – particularly in our most disadvantaged areas.

“That’s why I want to encourage schools to take part in this programme that is already providing a boost in so many of our classrooms. “

Family Action and Magic Breakfast are already working with the government to help encourage more children to attend the clubs by asking schools to collaborate and share best practice. This includes £2m for projects to encourage children to eat a healthy breakfast, and improve the way that schools share best practice.

Magic Breakfast founder, Carmel McConnell, added: “We are really happy to work alongside Family Action and the Department for Education (DfE) to welcome so many fantastic schools to the National School Breakfast Programme.

“Each school is receiving the tried and tested Magic Breakfast model of support, which we know boosts educational outcomes, and we are really keen to reach all eligible schools.

“Schools tell us that the most important lessons are taught in the morning, so we are delighted that so many more children who may not have access to food at home can now eat a healthy breakfast at school to give them the energy and focus they need to be able to learn.”

The National School Breakfast Programme is part of the government’s “drive to support an active and healthy childhood. It builds on the recent doubling of the Primary PE and Sport Premium to £320 million a year to improve PE and sport in schools, alongside the £100 million Healthy Pupils Capital Fund to improve school facilities that help young people live healthier lifestyles.”