19th March 2019

We are delighted to say that the National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP) has reached the recruitment target of 1,775 schools set by the Department for Education, meaning that by the beginning of the Summer Term over 250,000 more schoolchildren will be starting lessons with a healthy breakfast inside them, settled and ready to learn.   

This news comes exactly a year after it was announced that Family Action and Magic Breakfast had won the Department for Education’s contract to set up or improve breakfast provision in schools in disadvantaged areas of England where pupils were arriving too hungry to learn.

Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi, said:  “We want every child to have the best possible start in life – and that means getting the best possible start every day – so it’s absolutely fantastic news that 250,000 more children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country will get a healthy breakfast." 

"Our investment of up to £26 million in this great programme builds on the strides we’ve already made, with 300,000 fewer children living in absolute poverty in this country and the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils reduced by 10 per cent – and this significant milestone will help every child reach their potential.”

A healthy breakfast can provide children with the energy and nutrients they need to thrive: increasing alertness and improving behaviour.  Research, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, found that Y2 pupils in schools providing a free, nutritious breakfast boosted their reading, writing and maths by an average of 2 months’ progress per year, compared to pupils in schools with no such breakfast provision.

More than 1,400 schools are already receiving deliveries of healthy breakfast food from the NSBP, having been offered start-up grants to buy essential equipment such as toasters and freezers, and receiving expert support and guidance on how to reach all children at risk of hunger at the start of the school day.

We have been so pleased and excited to see how enthusiastic schools have been as they launch their NSBP breakfast provision and start to feel the positive impact that having classrooms of children with full stomachs and focused minds is bringing.

One such school is Arlies Primary School in Stalybridge (pictured), who say they’re honoured to have been chosen to work with the Programme.  School Business Manager, Kathryn Almond, said: “It’s been amazing for us and it’s changed the culture at the school.  Parents and staff are more engaged and the children are so much happier… we can’t thank the National School Breakfast Programme enough.”

Family Action’s CEO, David Holmes CBE, said: “The significance of this achievement can’t be overstated – the NSBP is now reaching hundreds of thousands of children every school day. Everyone involved with the NSBP - whether that’s our dedicated staff or the wonderful schools we work with or the DfE who commissioned the programme – should be proud that they are changing children’s lives for the better and improving their life chances thanks to their involvement with this programme.”

Carmel McConnell MBE, Founder of Magic Breakfast, said:  "Partnering with so many schools in such a short space of time has demonstrated that the Magic Breakfast model, tried and tested over a decade, can be successfully, quickly and effectively scaled up.  We are hearing from schools how, as a result of now having access to a healthy breakfast, children are realising that hunger had been affecting their mornings, but that thanks to the NSBP they are now much happier and able to focus during the first crucial lessons of the day.”

In total, over 3,100 schools expressed an interest in receiving support from the National School Breakfast Programme since its launch one year ago.  The programme is now full, but any schools in England where pupil hunger creates a barrier to learning can still register an interest with the NSBP, or with Magic Breakfast, should further funding become available in the near future.

There is more information about the NSBP on the Family Action website: https://www.family-action.org.uk/what-we-do/children-families/breakfast/

You can register your interest in applying for Magic Breakfast support by following this link: https://www.magicbreakfast.com/apply-for-magic-breakfast-provision

This photograph is copyright of the National School Breakfast Programme.