Magic Breakfast - Fuel For Learning
Press Releases
Going without breakfast is leaving kids distracted and tired in the classroom

· Four in five teachers say mornings are more stressful because their pupils haven’t eaten breakfast
· On average, 66million minutes of teaching time are being lost every morning during the Rumbling Hour, the equivalent of 8.9million days a year
· Quaker launches ‘Feed Their Future’ report and campaign today with Magic Breakfast, surprising Peckham school with an inspiring breakfast time lesson from Carol Vorderman

HUNGRY kids arriving at school without breakfast are leading the nation’s teachers to dub 10.30am as the ‘Rumbling Hour’ and say it’s the most stressful point of their days, according to research conducted by Quaker*.

More than 500,000[i] primary-age children go to school every day without breakfast and teachers say it leaves them distracted, tired and needing attention, with 68% of teachers saying they can identify if a child has eaten or not just by observing their behaviour.

In fact, the Quaker Feed Their Future report reveals that on average 66 million minutes of teaching time[ii] are lost every morning due to hunger – the equivalent of 8.9million full days a year[iii].

During this ‘Rumbling Hour’, teachers said that hungry children:

· Struggle to concentrate (76%)
· Are sleepy and lethargic (54%)
· Disrupt other children in the classroom (44%)
· Demonstrate lower levels of creativity and focus throughout the day (44%)
· Try and find something to eat (10%)

Alison Lennox, Professor of Public Health Nutrition from the University of Surrey, said: “Since the 1930s numerous studies have looked to explore the impact that breakfast has on our ability to focus, concentrate and learn. It is only now that we are really beginning to understand the effect that breakfast has on a child’s attention at school, their grades and their behaviour in the classroom. The trend of children missing breakfast is increasing, which is directly impacting children in schools to perform at their best – academically, socially or creatively.”

Quaker today launched its 2015 Feed Their Future campaign as part of its five year partnership with Magic Breakfast – the charity set up to provide free breakfasts to primary schools as fuel for learning – with the aim of inspiring learning and raising funds for the charity.

Carol Vorderman today launched the campaign with a surprise lesson during a Magic Breakfast club at Rye Oak Primary School in Peckham where children were treated to a very special interactive session with Britain’s favourite maths whizz. Carol hosted the club, quizzing the children on nutrition-based maths whilst two teams raced the clock on a giant obstacle course to solve numerical problems, all in order to encourage feeding their bellies and brains.

Carol Vorderman, said:  “We all know that primary school children are like sponges – absorbing every nugget of information. I’m extremely passionate about and have been actively involved in education and learning for decades, it is the greatest gift we can give our children. The state schools I went to back in the 60s and 70s changed my life and that of my family, for which I will always be grateful. Research showing that education can be adversely effected by not having breakfast is extremely concerning.  Today we gave children a lively start to the day with a good brekkie, but every morning should start with a full tummy to help them thrive, concentrate, grow and be inspired.”

Quaker and Magic Breakfast currently provide 16,000 children with breakfast every morning to help get kids off to the best start of the day and nourishing learning. Since 2009, Quaker and Magic Breakfast have provided 673,429 bowls of porridge.
Carmel McConnell, founder of Magic Breakfast, commented: “Hunger is a very real problem in this country. We constantly hear from our partner schools the devastating impact this can have on a child’s ability to learn, and without an education their future life success is at severe risk. This research and the Feed Their Future report confirms and supports what we see every day and makes sure the spotlight is shone on child hunger. We can’t ignore this problem any more – it’s time to put an end to it and work to ensure every child has the right nourishment and fuel for learning.”

The campaign will help raise awareness of the importance of breakfast as the first meal of the day, and encourage the nation to join together with Quaker and Magic Breakfast in a mission to help feed kids in the mornings. This will include TV advertising – shown at 7.20am on Monday 19th January which will also include a text code, to donate (OATS14) as well as on pack support. Quaker and Magic Breakfast will also be taking over schools up and down the UK to give primary kids an inspirational start to the day and provide some food for thought.

More information on the Quaker and Magic Breakfast ‘Feed Their Future’ campaign can be found at Text 70070 stating “OATS14 £3” to donate £3 to Magic Breakfast, which equates to almost one month of breakfasts for one school child.
The full Feed Their Future report can be downloaded
[i]Breakfast consumption in UK schoolchildren and provision of school breakfast clubs. A Hoyland, KA McWilliams, RJ Duff & JL Walton: Nutrition Bulletin (2012), 37: 232-240
[ii] Calculation based on 1,000 teachers who reported that 15 minutes of teaching time is lost during the Rumbling Hour, with 4.4 million children in primary education this equates to 66million minutes lost per day
[iii] Based on a calculation of 4.4millon children multiplied by 15 minutes of time lost per child per day during rumbling hour, multiplied by 195 (the number of school days a year) and divided by the number of minutes in a day
New street-food festival, Magic Feast, arrives in South East London


27th October 2014


Magic Feast is a unique new event taking place on 12th November 2014 in the heart of South East London in

aid of local children’s charity Magic Breakfast. Some of SE1’s finest restaurants have come together to create

a street-food style festival, complete with food stalls, DJ, raffle, live auction and some schoolyard fun, all

located in the cafeteria of Surrey Square Primary School, one of the many schools supported by Magic

Breakfast. The charity delivers free, nutritious breakfasts to 8,500 primary school students with the aim of

aiding children’s concentration and learning in the classroom.


The influential Bermondsey Street gastropub The Garrison, whose opening eleven years ago paved the way

for the regeneration of SE1’s culinary scene will be serving a poached pear salad with chicory, stilton and

caramel walnuts. Their sister restaurant and neighbour Village East, will be serving their now infamous Lamb

Meatball sliders. Hutong will be descending 33 floors from The Shard and treating visitors to their poached

pork wontons with garlic spicy sauce. Starting life as the Meatwagon in South East London, founders of

MEATliquor Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins will be serving up their famous and deliciously messy

burgers across the evening. They will also provide music for the event courtesy of their very own radio station,

MEATtransMISSION. The Good Egg street-food stall, soon to be opening a permanent site in Stoke

Newington, will be serving Shakshuka, a warming North African tomato stew served with eggs and preserved

lemon yoghurt. New to the London Bridge block is The Breakfast Club, who are serving guests Pancakes with

berries and cream. Not only that, Columbia Road’s 1235 Donuts will be making a guest appearance with their

homemade donuts.


In support of Magic Breakfast, a fantastic raffle on the evening will give guests the chance to win prizes

generously donated by a selection of South London restaurants and bars. Prizes include a voucher to dine at

favourite oyster and seafood restaurant, Wright Brothers, located in Borough Market as well as the chance to

win an exciting pasta making class with Chef Lale of Bermondsey Street restaurant, Zucca.


To wash all of this down, local wines and craft beer have been provided and can be enjoyed throughout the

night with the evening concluding at 11pm.


Tickets, priced at £50, include all food and drink as well as a raffle ticket, and are available to purchase at


For further information about Magic Feast please contact Ginny MacLean

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | 020 3176 6640

Notes to Editors:

Tickets: £50 - available from

Location: Surrey Square Junior School, London, SE17 2JY

Time: 6.30pm – 11pm


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:

         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.

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Tesco Media Team tel: 01992 644645.

86% rise over the past year in the number of children being fed by the Magic Breakfast and Mayor's Fund for London School Breakfast Club partnership

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: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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.

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