9th October 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron today hosted a tea party for the Magic Breakfast charity, dedicated to ensuring every child starts their school day with the right breakfast as fuel for learning.
The Prime Minister was joined in Downing Street by charity staff, supporters and the breakfast club of St John’s Church of England Primary school in Bethnal Green to celebrate the end of an 18 month partnership with Magic Breakfast which has seen Downing Street volunteers taking part in clubs across London.
Speaking at the reception in Downing Street, Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Making sure children have a healthy breakfast so they can learn at school is vitally important. Thank you Magic Breakfast for what you do and keep on doing it!”
Magic Breakfast provides free healthy breakfast food, such as bagels, porridge, orange juice and cereals, to schools with over 35% free school meals. Together with a strong network of corporate partners, individuals and schools they are giving over 8,500 children the best start to the day.
Magic Breakfast founder Carmel McConnell said:
"Magic Breakfast has been delighted with the support from Number 10 Downing Street through the current Charity Partnership, in particular welcoming the great contribution made by Number 10 volunteers in Magic Breakfast partner schools in London.
“The charity has also been able to access advice and mentoring from within Number 10 which has been incredibly helpful - especially as Magic Breakfast is going through a period of substantial growth and will be continuing to work hard to help the 300 schools on our waiting list requesting urgent food aid".
17th September, 2014: Thousands of hungry school children will be benefiting from a healthy and nutritious start to the day thanks to a new partnership between Tesco and the charity Magic Breakfast.
Starting this month, Tesco will supply 40,000 boxes of own-brand cereal to Magic Breakfast for children to eat at the charity’s breakfast clubs. Magic Breakfast supplies free, nourishing breakfast food to more than 250 primary schools across England to help improve the concentration, learning, attendance and well-being of pupils for their core morning lessons.
The four types of cereal being donated by Tesco – Cornflakes, Rice Snaps, Wheat Biscuits and Malt Wheats - have been carefully selected to provide vital fuel for learning. Boxes of own-brand cereal on sale at Tesco stores will also feature information about Magic Breakfast and how people can donate.
Greg Sage, Community Director for Tesco, said:
“We’re incredibly excited to partner with Magic Breakfast – the work the charity does to help make sure children don’t start school on an empty stomach can make a real difference to their academic achievement”.
Carmel McConnell, Founder Director of Magic Breakfast, said: “Magic Breakfast was set up out of love and concern for children and a belief in their potential, given the right start. A hungry child cannot concentrate. This new Tesco donation of cereals will save the charity thousands of pounds this year, money we can use to extend to new schools who need help to reach hungry school children”.
The announcement comes at a particularly key time for Magic Breakfast as the charity undergoes a period of rapid expansion. From feeding 8,500 children at the beginning of term, the charity is aiming to reach 14,500 pupils by Christmas.
September is also a key time to catch those children who have not been eating or exercising properly during the long, summer holiday. Following the release of research in August (by the Trussell Trust) indicating “holiday hunger” among children in the UK, Magic Breakfast has conducted a back-to-school survey of all its partner schools asking if teachers have seen evidence of malnutrition in pupils returning after the summer break.
Of those who have responded, one third say they have seen evidence of malnourishment, with nearly 40% reporting noticing significant weight gain among pupils. Teachers say it takes several weeks for these children to return to the state of health they were at the end of the summer term. Here are some of their observations:
“Hunger, change in body shape, tiredness, sadness.”
“Weight loss, bad skin, withdrawn.”
“Cold sores on faces, tired eyes.”
“Some children are lethargic and seem like they ‘can't be bothered’ despite 5 - 6 weeks off school! Those who have gained weight struggle with fitness in activities like Wake up + Shake Up after breakfast.”
“Asking for food throughout the day, asking for seconds at lunchtime. Tiredness, no energy”.
“Increased appetite, eat more at breakfast club and lunch. Enjoy more healthy eating, fruit, cereals etc.”
Carmel McConnell: “When you think about hunger as a barrier to education, the UK isn’t the first place you’d think about. But sadly up to a million school children fail to make the most of their lessons, simply because they start their day too hungry or malnourished to learn. Magic Breakfast is determined to do something about it.”
- ENDS -
Notes to editors
About Magic Breakfast: Magic Breakfast is an independent charity providing free, healthy breakfasts to over 8,500 primary school children in England. The charity supports schools where more than 35% of pupils are eligible for Free School Meals by helping them set up and run their own breakfast clubs. To meet increasing demand, Magic Breakfast is expanding and will be reaching secondary and SEN pupils too. It is aiming to be feeding 14,500 children by Christmas. In 2014, Magic Breakfast was the successful applicant in the School Food Plan Lot 3 funding from the Department for Education to set up 184 new breakfast clubs.
For more information on the charity please visit: www.magicbreakfast.com
About Tesco’s big ambition on health: Last year Tesco announced a commitment to help customers and colleagues live healthier lives. This new partnership is part of the work Tesco is doing to meet that commitment, alongside The Tesco Eat Happy Project, which teaches children about the food they eat, sponsorship of Race for Life and the removal of sweets from all Tesco checkouts in January 2015. The partnership between Tesco and Magic Breakfast is set to run until May 2015.
For Magic Breakfast information and to be sent a group photo of children from the Magic Breakfast club at Thomas Buxton Primary School in Tower Hamlets, contact Sophia Dettmer. Tel: 07803 800164.
Tesco Media Team tel: 01992 644645.
5th June 14
Benefits and successes of school breakfast clubs to be showcased at City Hall event on 9th June
9th June 2014, London: More than one thousand extra primary school children, in some of the most deprived areas of London, are receiving healthy breakfasts this year than they were in 2013 thanks to the success of a partnership between Magic Breakfast charity and the Mayor’s Fund for London.
Magic Breakfast is a leading breakfast club provider, working with 252 schools across England, including 127 in London, to deliver breakfast provision for pupils who would otherwise start lessons too hungry to learn. The Mayor’s Fund for London makes it possible for Magic Breakfast to deliver food and support 50 primary schools in 7 London boroughs. Between them these 50 schools ensure that, on average, 2,407 children eat a nutritious breakfast each school day (up from 1,296 pupils at the beginning of 2013).
On Monday 9th June, headteachers or their representatives, and Breakfast Club Coordinators from the 50 Magic Breakfast/Mayor’s Fund for London schools will gather at City Hall for the second annual Breakfast Club Celebration Event. They will talk about their successes – how individual pupils and the school as a whole have benefited from implementing the best breakfast provision for them - and discuss the work that has taken place to develop sustainable breakfast provision that is safeguarded for years to come.
Alex Cunningham, Magic Breakfast Interim CEO, outlines the importance of this event in ensuring that the essential support provided through a healthy breakfast is embedded into the school day: “Magic Breakfast has been supporting schools for over 10 years now. We have seen the level of need increase over this time and currently have 270 schools on our waiting list. Food aid and limited pots of funding are not long-term solutions. We are working with schools to ensure that their breakfast provision meets the needs of the most vulnerable children in society and to hardwire this provision into what the school does so that future generations also have access to this invaluable support.”
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of the Mayor’s Fund for London: “The Mayor’s Fund for London has been delighted to work with Magic Breakfast to tackle the challenge of hunger faced by some children in London. We believe the best route out of poverty is a good job which requires a good education. Hungry children do not learn. We have been inspired by the approach Magic Breakfast have taken to establishing sustainable breakfast clubs in some of the most challenging environments in London, which includes sharing good practice enabling others to learn.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson, Patron of the Mayor’s Fund for London, says: “A nutritious breakfast is the best way to prepare our kids for a day of school. Eating the right type of foods boosts learning, but unfortunately some children are missing out on this vital first meal of the day. This brilliant scheme is a catalyst for helping fuel the energy of thousands of pupils and enabling them to reach their full potential.”
In surveys carried out by Magic Breakfast across the 50 Mayor’s Fund for London partner schools, headteachers state that the most important reasons for offering a breakfast club are to support children arriving at school not having had breakfast and ensuring that children have a healthy breakfast. The schools say that the next most important reason for offering a breakfast club is to promote better behaviour or concentration in class and to improve attendance and punctuality.
· 92.5% of the schools state that, as a result of Magic Breakfast support over the last 12 months, pupils show increased energy and concentration in class.
· 72.5% of the schools state that, as a result of Magic Breakfast support over the last 12 months, pupils' attainment has improved to some extent; there is improved attendance at their school and children who attend breakfast club show improved social skills.
Rob Hyneman, Assistant Head, Rye Oak Primary School, Peckham: “Our work with Magic Breakfast over the last 18 months has enabled us to develop a breakfast club that caters for over 150 children every day. We are able to offer our children a healthy and nutritious breakfast making sure that they ready for the start of the school day. This has had a positive impact on attendance and punctuality, as well as the children's ability to fully focus on their learning during the morning sessions. Our breakfast club is an integral part of the day at Rye Oak contributing to the sense of community and supporting the aims and ethos of our school”.
“Our lunchtime supervisors have noticed that the children who attend breakfast club are firstly more relaxed and better behaved during the lunch hour (as they are no longer starving and desperate for food) and secondly that they are making conscious, healthy decisions about what they would like to eat for lunch”, Fiona O’Malley, Assistant Headteacher, Brunswick Park Primary School, Southwark.
In addition to providing breakfast clubs, Magic Breakfast/Mayor’s Fund for London partner schools have come up with some innovative ways of ensuring vulnerable young children get enough to eat. One school in Newham is setting up a “Porridge Hut” outside at break time so that hungry children who might otherwise be too proud to ask for food can fill their empty stomachs. Another school, in Islington, takes bagels in to the playground for everyone to have so no one child can be stigmatized for wanting food. A school in Lambeth has instigated home feeding for those children who cannot make it to the breakfast club because they have a long distance to travel.
Contacts and interview possibilities:
For more information and to arrange interviews please contact Sophia Dettmer on tel: 07803 800164 or email:
The City Hall event takes place from 9am to 1pm on 9th June. Media are welcome to attend. Available for interview before and after the event are:
Alex Cunningham, Interim CEO, Magic Breakfast;
Mark Coussins, Programme Manager, Magic Breakfast;
Harriet Greet, Nutritionist, Magic Breakfast;
Matthew Patten, CEO, Mayor’s Fund for London;
Rob Hyneman, Assistant Head, Rye Oak Primary School, Peckham;
Plus representatives from other partner schools could be available for interview on request.
The impact of free school breakfasts on academic progress is one of six new trials to be funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). The EEF today announced funding for a year-long study of school breakfasts involving 36,000 pupils in 200 schools across England.
Breakfast clubs are currently offered by nearly 80% of schools in England. In this study a team from the Institute for Fiscal Studies will compare the impact of clubs where all children, regardless of income, get a free breakfast versus clubs where only pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) get breakfast free. In the second scheme other pupils would be able to attend and pay for their breakfast. The study will also examine whether there is a difference in attainment between breakfast clubs which operate before school and those held during school hours.
As the number of schools wanting to offer free breakfasts increases, the EEF’s study will provide more information to schools about the impact of breakfast on attainment and a timely analysis of the most cost effective way of delivering this provision.
This research is also likely to have significant public policy implications. The recently published School Food Plan, which has the support of Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, recommends that breakfast clubs should be set up in schools with the highest levels of deprivation. The Government is funding the charity Magic Breakfast to provide breakfasts in schools with high numbers of FSM pupils. Previous UK research has shown that breakfast provision has a positive impact on attendance and concentration but its effect on attainment is not known.
News of this trial comes as Magic Breakfast offers over 19,600 extra free breakfasts to pupils taking their Year 6 SATs this week. The charity currently delivers regular breakfast provision to 250 schools and has a further 272 schools on its waiting list.
Dr Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:
“Having a good breakfast is something which many of us take for granted as a good start to the day, and has been shown to make a real difference to pupils' concentration. What we don't know enough about is how to deliver free breakfasts to get the best impact on attainment. This project will help us understand whether offering all children a free breakfast results in better outcomes for those pupils eligible for free school meals, by reducing stigma and increasing uptake, or whether self-financing breakfast clubs, where more affluent pupils pay for their food, are just as effective.
“Around 80% of schools already offer some form of breakfast club, though many do not offer free breakfasts. A rigorous, independent evaluation of how effective free breakfasts are in improving the attainment of the poorest pupils will give schools valuable information. Positive results may encourage more schools to offer free breakfasts or to change the timing of their breakfast provision. This could be a useful tool for schools in their efforts to reduce the gap in educational outcomes between those eligible for free school meals and their more affluent peers.”
Alex Cunningham, Acting CEO of Magic Breakfast, said:
“We are delighted to be working with the EEF on this evaluation project. The increase in the number of schools on our waiting list shows schools are increasingly interested in offering free breakfasts to their pupils. Research has shown that nearly a third (32%) of children in the UK regularly miss breakfast before school and this affects concentration and energy levels. Pupils tell us that they come to school on time to get their free breakfast and that without Magic Breakfast they would have nothing to eat in the morning.”
“Our own research shows that 93% of schools see an increase in concentration and energy amongst children attending our breakfast clubs. Whilst we value schools' assessments of our effectiveness we are looking forward to seeing our work independently tested through a rigorous randomised controlled trial. We want to move the conversation forward, from whether breakfast provision in schools is a good investment to how it can have the greatest impact on pupils.”
The EEF also announced funding for five other projects today including:
· an assessment of the impact of attending boarding school on children in receipt of Local Authority support
· an evaluation of the impact of Scratch, a popular, free computer coding programme, on pupils in the final years of primary school
· an analysis of the impact of using best practice when grouping pupils by attainment in the first two years of secondary school
· an evaluation of a structured behaviour improvement programme on primary school pupils
All the evaluations the EEF funds are of projects deemed to show promise in narrowing the attainment gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and their peers.
NOTES TO EDITORS
· 1.The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust, with a Department for Education grant of £125m. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement through evidence-based research. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £41 million to 78 projects working with over 560,000 pupils in over 2,900 schools across England.
· 2 .Magic Breakfast is an independent charity which provides free, nutritious breakfasts (bagels, cereal, porridge, fresh orange juice), to over 8,500 primary school pupils in more than 252 schools across England. It supports schools where more than 35% of pupils are eligible for Free School Meals by helping them set up and run their own breakfast clubs.
· 3. View the six new projects here.