12 October 2023

Magic Breakfast M&M Survey 2023: from data to insights

Tagged by

  • Research
  • Cost of living
  • Deprivation
  • Poverty

Written by By Sanjana Iyer (Magic Breakfast Summer Intern) 

Home > What we do > News and views > Magic Breakfast M&M Survey 2023: from data to insights

Each year, Magic Breakfast sends out a ‘Measuring and Monitoring’ (M&M) survey to all the partner schools we work with across England and Scotland. This survey not only highlights the impact of our school breakfast programme on children and young people but also provides us with insight into the challenges schools are facing. Insight from the survey enables us to develop our intervention so we can reach more children and young people at risk of hunger. 

When asking our partner schools about developments of poverty and child hunger, 81% stated that child hunger had increased in their school community, and 90% stated that child poverty had increased during the 2022/23 academic year.  

Unsurprisingly, 99% of schools stated that the cost of living crisis was a key driver of these increases. This highlights the undeniable fact that the cost of living crisis has played, and continues to play, a significant role in shaping the reality of schools and their pupils across the UK. 69% of our partner schools reported an increase in inequalities within their school communities. More schools than ever state that children are coming into school with small, old or incorrect uniform, which serves as a marker for those pupils coming from families who are worst affected by the impacts of the cost of living crisis.  

Not only this, but families are also demanding more food bank vouchers and are unable to afford educational trips or afterschool clubs for their children. Packed lunches contain cheap, low nutritional options which can have detrimental impacts on their health and ability to excel in a school environment. 

The poor are poorer and the higher Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) kids are living more frugal which means treats are less. Our pupils in poverty are eating and heating their homes less. 

 – Teacher, Magic Breakfast Partner School Scotland  

The phrase ‘eating and heating their homes less’ is of particular significance, emphasising how the effect of the cost of living crisis has been exacerbated this year. Whilst last year families had to make the trade off between heating or eating to cut costs, the situation this year appears to have become even worse, forcing some families to sacrifice both.  

67% of schools are also reporting a visible impact on children’s learning due to the cost of living crisis. Children are absorbing the financial stresses of their parents, which can have negative impacts on attendance and concentration in class. When the priorities of children are shifted to meeting basic needs like clothing and food, children are hardly able to concentrate on their learning. Why would they? 

The impact of poorer rates of attendance undoubtedly impacts attainment. Pupils from our poorest families will arguably find it more difficult to concentrate in class due to lack of sleep and nourishment, which has been further impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. The mental stress families are feeling caused by financial pressure is being felt in our school on a daily basis. 

– Teacher, Magic Breakfast Partner School Scotland  

This is what makes Magic Breakfast’s mission more important than ever. Ending morning hunger as a barrier to learning in the UK is vital, but also hugely alleviates pressure on families facing financial hardship. Schools are reporting that breakfast provision is key in their school communities, and the impact is remarkable not only on learning, but the peace of mind parents get knowing their children are well fed.

This year’s survey reveals the impact of our breakfast provision across a range of outcome areas: 

Children start their day well fed and have their basic needs met which means they are ready and able to learn and have improved focus and concentration which leads to better outcomes in lessons and across the curriculum. 

 – Magic Breakfast Partner School, Durham

Recognising the numerous challenges that schools and communities currently face, we take great pride in our work to ensure no child or young person is too hungry to learn. We aim not only to raise awareness about these challenges, but also to actively address the persistent problem of child morning hunger and bring an end to it for good. 

The impact our breakfast provision has had on the children and families has been significant towards helping struggling families with the cost of living and for working parents. 

– Magic Breakfast Partner School, Nottingham  

Thank you to our partner schools that took the time to complete the survey!  

Find out more about our UK wide results here

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20 December 2023

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