27th October 2021

Magic Breakfast is disappointed that our proposal to level up Government investment in school breakfast provision has not been included in the Autumn Budget announced today. This is a missed opportunity to make levelling up a reality by closing the educational attainment gap that has only widened during the pandemic; evidence demonstrates that free, nutritious breakfasts in school can help children achieve an additional two months of academic progress in a given year.  

The Government has announced an additional £1.8 billion in funding for educational recovery support. With children unable to learn on an empty stomach, this funding needs to first address this barrier to learning with a cost-effective intervention. The Government currently puts £12m a year into school breakfast provision. More is needed to level up life chances through a wider, hunger-focused breakfast provision that includes essential school partner support and food costs. A modest increase in funding of £75 million per year would ensure almost 900,000 children of primary school age in areas of high disadvantage would have almost 7300 of their schools supported with sustainable funding and expert in-person support to ensure they are not too hungry to learn.  

We welcome the £200 million investment per year in the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, one of the three asks of the #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY campaign, but this won't reach nearly 50% of children experiencing food insecurity who are not eligible for HAF or Free School MealsMagic Breakfast recognises the need to ensure that all children at risk of hunger are able to eat nutritious meals year-round. That is why over the summer holidays this year we supported more than 36,400 children in over 690 schools to receive breakfast through home deliveries.  

The Government could do so much more to tackle term-time hunger and ensure millions of children start school ready to learn. Magic Breakfast will continue to work with partner organisations and Parliamentarians of all parties to build support for sustainable, permanent investment in school breakfast provision. We hope the Secretary of State for Education will reconsider the Government's current approach.