"You focus more on your belly hurting than you do on your learning if you haven't had breakfast" – Jamie, age 9
- 3.9 million children live in income poverty in the UK (defined as 60% below the average income)
- 1 in 4 children have one hot meal a day their school lunch, according to research by Child Poverty Action Group
- 32% of schoolchildren regularly miss breakfast
"I've seen a child slip under his desk, faint with hunger. I've taken him out, given him a drink and a one of your bagels and he sprang back into life. He'd probably not eaten anything since school dinner the day before. That's why we rely on Magic Breakfast. With breakfast, children are ready and able to learn." Breakfast Club Coordinator, London
Despite being one of the richest economies in the world, there are almost 4 million children in the UK growing up in poverty and an estimated 700,000 children arriving at school hungry, with a third of children regularly missing breakfast before school.
Many children arrive at school without having breakfast - often having only eaten chips, crisps or even cereal the evening before. It can be a 16+ hour fast until their school lunchtime meal.
A hungry child is more likely to be restless, unhappy, lethargic, distracted or disruptive in lessons. We frequently hear from teachers of children displaying or reporting stomach aches and in some cases slipping under the desk having fainted from hunger. A hungry child is simply not ready for learning.
There are many reasons why a child may not receive a healthy start to the day.
- Chaotic home life
- Income poverty
- Overcrowded accommodation
- Long term unemployment
- Working parents needing to work unsocial hours, often balancing several jobs and still struggling to make ends meet
- Or simply a lack of nutritional awareness
These are just some of the many factors contributing to a national problem.
"We've noticed some children with distended stomachs through malnutrition. We believe this is because they come from large families who simply don't have enough food to go round. On one home visit we found a family of ten living in one room." – Headteacher, London
However, behind the statistics, blame and explanations there is a child arriving at school hungry. We at Magic Breakfast are dedicated to ensuring that child has the right start to their day, whatever their circumstances.