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

19th January, 2015: 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.


[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