Big recruitment drive for the Department for Education’s National School Breakfast Programme underway as the first schools to sign up to the NSBP start serving free healthy breakfasts to pupils


2nd July, 2018:  Schools in disadvantaged areas of England are being encouraged to sign up to receive free, healthy breakfast food and expert support as part of a big recruitment drive for the new National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP).

The NSBP, funded by the Department for Education from the soft drinks industry levy, is being delivered by Family Action and Magic Breakfast.  Schools which either have no existing breakfast provision, or breakfast provision where there is scope for improvement (according to specific criteria), are being urged to find out if they are eligible for support. There is funding available for breakfast provision in over 1,770 schools - primary, secondary, special schools and pupil referral units (PRUs).

Most schools that are eligible will receive free, healthy breakfast food delivered direct to school for 4 terms, as much food as is needed to feed every pupil at risk of hunger in school. There will also be support from a dedicated member of NSBP staff, resources, best practice events, and a £500 start-up grant to buy necessary equipment such as toasters or a freezer.

A   healthy   breakfast   can   provide   children   with   the   energy   and  nutrients   they  need  to  thrive;    increasing alertness, improving  behaviour  and  giving  them  the  motivation  to  learn.  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.

There are innovation projects running in parallel to the main programme, with additional funding attached, to research, test and deliver strategies for overcoming barriers to parental engagement in breakfast, and barriers to secondary age children choosing a healthy breakfast at school.

David Holmes CBE, Chief Executive of Family Action, said: “Breakfast provision plays a key role in ensuring children have a healthy start to their day. Family Action is delighted to be working with the Department for Education and Magic Breakfast on this ground-breaking programme – changing lives and life chances by preventing thousands of children from being too hungry to learn”. 

Carmel McConnell MBE, Founder of Magic Breakfast, said: “Magic Breakfast is delighted to work alongside the Department for Education and Family Action to deliver this programme. Crucially it will ensure a nutritious breakfast reaches many more thousands of hungry schoolchildren, unlocking up to four hours of learning each morning to support their education. This is an excellent investment in these children and in the future of this country”.

Schools in disadvantaged areas can find out if they are eligible for support via the National School Breakfast Programme by filling out an Expression of Interest Form on the Family Action website or Magic Breakfast website, then emailing the form to [email protected]  Schools in 12 of the government’s Opportunity Areas are particularly being encouraged to apply for breakfast support. These areas are: Blackpool, Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, Fenland & East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich, Norwich, Oldham, Scarborough, Stoke on Trent and West Somerset.



For further information, case studies and interviews please contact:


Tim Simpson | Best Practice and Sustainability Lead | National School Breakfast Programme

Email: [email protected] | Tel: 07827 938966


Sophia Dettmer | Senior Communications Manager | Magic Breakfast

Email: [email protected] | Tel: 07399 553154


Notes to Editors

About Family Action

Family Action is a charity committed to building stronger families and brighter lives by delivering innovative and effective services and support that reaches out to many of the UK’s most vulnerable people. The charity seeks to empower people and communities to address their issues and challenges through practical, financial and emotional help. 

Family Action’s work is wide-ranging and includes help for parents-to-be, the provision of many Children’s Centres in local communities, intensive family support, emotional health and wellbeing services, counselling, mediation and therapies, support in schools and financial grants programmes. Family Action is also recognised as a leading provider of training.

Registered Charity Number: 264 713
Website: |Twitter: @family_action |Facebook: Family Action


About Magic Breakfast

Magic Breakfast is a charity providing healthy breakfasts to more than 31,500 children in the UK who arrive at school too hungry or malnourished to learn. The charity focuses on reaching children in disadvantaged areas of the UK, forming partnerships with schools and working with them to ensure the most vulnerable children have access to a healthy meal, without barrier or stigma, at the start of the school day. Magic Breakfast works with over 480 schools - primary, secondary, SEN/ALS, and pupil referral units in England and Scotland, and is assessing need for its services in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Magic Breakfast was established in 2003 by Carmel McConnell MBE in response to head teachers telling her that the biggest obstacle to them being able to teach was hunger among their pupils who, as a consequence, were unable to concentrate in their morning lessons.

Registered Charity Numbers: 1102510 in England and SC048202 in Scotland.

Website: | Twitter: @Magic_Breakfast | Facebook: magicbreakfastuk