9th June 2014   

More than one thousand extra primary school children, in some of the most deprived areas of London, are receiving healthy breakfasts this year than they were in 2013 thanks to the success of a partnership between Magic Breakfast charity and the Mayor’s Fund for London.

Magic Breakfast is a leading breakfast club provider, working with 252 schools across England, including 127 in London, to deliver breakfast provision for pupils who would otherwise start lessons too hungry to learn. The Mayor’s Fund for London makes it possible for Magic Breakfast to deliver food and support 50 primary schools in 7 London boroughs. Between them these 50 schools ensure that, on average, 2,407 children eat a nutritious breakfast each school day (up from 1,296 pupils at the beginning of 2013).

On Monday 9th June, headteachers or their representatives, and Breakfast Club Coordinators from the 50 Magic Breakfast/Mayor’s Fund for London schools will gather at City Hall for the second annual Breakfast Club Celebration Event. They will talk about their successes – how individual pupils and the school as a whole have benefited from implementing the best breakfast provision for them - and discuss the work that has taken place to develop sustainable breakfast provision that is safeguarded for years to come.

Alex Cunningham, Magic Breakfast Interim CEO, outlines the importance of this event in ensuring that the essential support provided through a healthy breakfast is embedded into the school day: “Magic Breakfast has been supporting schools for over 10 years now. We have seen the level of need increase over this time and currently have 270 schools on our waiting list. Food aid and limited pots of funding are not long-term solutions. We are working with schools to ensure that their breakfast provision meets the needs of the most vulnerable children in society and to hardwire this provision into what the school does so that future generations also have access to this invaluable support.”

Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of the Mayor’s Fund for London: “The Mayor’s Fund for London has been delighted to work with Magic Breakfast to tackle the challenge of hunger faced by some children in London. We believe the best route out of poverty is a good job which requires a good education. Hungry children do not learn. We have been inspired by the approach Magic Breakfast have taken to establishing sustainable breakfast clubs in some of the most challenging environments in London, which includes sharing good practice enabling others to learn.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson, Patron of the Mayor’s Fund for London, says: “A nutritious breakfast is the best way to prepare our kids for a day of school. Eating the right type of foods boosts learning, but unfortunately some children are missing out on this vital first meal of the day. This brilliant scheme is a catalyst for helping fuel the energy of thousands of pupils and enabling them to reach their full potential.”

In surveys carried out by Magic Breakfast across the 50 Mayor’s Fund for London partner schools, headteachers state that the most important reasons for offering a breakfast club are to support children arriving at school not having had breakfast and ensuring that children have a healthy breakfast. The schools say that the next most important reason for offering a breakfast club is to promote better behaviour or concentration in class and to improve attendance and punctuality. 

· 92.5% of the schools state that, as a result of Magic Breakfast support over the last 12 months, pupils show increased energy and concentration in class.

· 72.5% of the schools state that, as a result of Magic Breakfast support over the last 12 months, pupils' attainment has improved to some extent; there is improved attendance at their school and children who attend breakfast club show improved social skills.

Rob Hyneman, Assistant Head, Rye Oak Primary School, Peckham: “Our work with Magic Breakfast over the last 18 months has enabled us to develop a breakfast club that caters for over 150 children every day. We are able to offer our children a healthy and nutritious breakfast making sure that they ready for the start of the school day. This has had a positive impact on attendance and punctuality, as well as the children's ability to fully focus on their learning during the morning sessions. Our breakfast club is an integral part of the day at Rye Oak contributing to the sense of community and supporting the aims and ethos of our school”.

“Our lunchtime supervisors have noticed that the children who attend breakfast club are firstly more relaxed and better behaved during the lunch hour (as they are no longer starving and desperate for food) and secondly that they are making conscious, healthy decisions about what they would like to eat for lunch”, Fiona O’Malley, Assistant Headteacher, Brunswick Park Primary School, Southwark.

In addition to providing breakfast clubs, Magic Breakfast/Mayor’s Fund for London partner schools have come up with some innovative ways of ensuring vulnerable young children get enough to eat. One school in Newham is setting up a “Porridge Hut” outside at break time so that hungry children who might otherwise be too proud to ask for food can fill their empty stomachs. Another school, in Islington, takes bagels in to the playground for everyone to have so no one child can be stigmatized for wanting food.  A school in Lambeth has instigated home feeding for those children who cannot make it to the breakfast club because they have a long distance to travel.