5 November 2020

As we enter Lockdown2 our latest Impact Report looks at how the schools and communities we work with have been affected by the pandemic, and how we have adapted and grown to face the challenge.

Keeping Breakfast Going Through Covid-19 Impact Report

As our CEO, Alex Cunningham, says in the report: “We are now operating in a ‘new normal’ where the need for our provision is greater than ever before.”

Prior to the pandemic, we were reaching 48,000 children, in 480 schools, with a healthy breakfast every school day. Since schools re-opened for the Autumn term, the number of pupils we are reaching has increased, with recent analysis showing that we are now reaching 35% more pupils per school offering Magic Breakfast provision than we were a year ago. 

We have always advised on a variety of options for serving breakfast. Pre-Covid-19, some schools chose a traditional breakfast club, others provided bagels in the classroom, or in the playground, or on a ‘grab and go’ basis. By Autumn 2020, however, the mix has included take home packs and, thanks to Amazon, home deliveries are now an option too.  

With the support of our School Partners, schools choose what works best for them and, most importantly, the way they can most effectively reach the children most at risk of hunger. More than half of our schools are now using two types of provision to reach pupils.

Covid-19 has brought hardship for many people, and schools have reported a notable increase in poverty. Almost half (48%) of staff in Magic Breakfast’s partner schools who responded to our Autumn Survey said they thought child hunger had increased in their school community as a result of Covid-19. Over two-thirds (69%) of staff surveyed said they thought that poverty had increased in their school community.  

As a teacher at one of our partner schools explained:

"Parents on furlough bringing less money into the household. The only saving they can make is to cut down on food. Parents have lost jobs and parents on benefits have had to provide extra for their children while they were at home for the extended period.’"

Along with hunger, teachers frequently express concerns for the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils:

“Our children live in very challenging homes. To move out of their routine, and not attend school, was in some cases both challenging and detrimental to their wellbeing.”

Many school staff recognise the importance of the social benefits of breakfast and, on re-opening, worked hard to provide a warm, welcoming space for vulnerable pupils.

“One of our Y6 pupils did not attend school at all during lockdown, despite offers from the school, and was not partaking in home learning. The school tried to reach out to the family but were unable to engage them throughout lockdown. On return to school the pupil did not settle in class - running out and refusing to do any activities. To support their transition back to school we placed them in a small group session each morning where they were offered breakfast and provided with time to settle and talk about worries and concerns, this increased their time in school and has provided routine as they settle back in to learning.” 

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in this country. Magic Breakfast has adapted and grown to meet the needs of our partner schools and their pupils, we have ambitious plans going forward. With your help we will continue to work towards ending hunger in the classroom. No child should be too hungry to learn.

Read the full report here: Keeping Breakfast Going Through Covid-19 Impact Report