16 February 2023

School leaders join us in calling on the chancellor to put breakfast on the table

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Written by Magic Breakfast Team

Home > What we do > News and views > School leaders join us in calling on the chancellor to put breakfast on the table

Today Magic Breakfast, backed by 150 headteachers and school leaders, are asking the chancellor to put breakfast on the table in his upcoming budget, and expand funding for the National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP) by £18 million, allowing for another 2,500 schools to deliver breakfast to children and young people who need it. 

We’re proud of the connection we have with school leaders up and down the country. We work every school day to help feed children and young people, across England and Scotland, in all types of schools: Primary, Secondary, ASL / Special Educational Needs Schools, and Pupil Referral Units. We see, all of us, the impact that morning hunger can have in the classroom – and it is steadily getting worse.  

In our 20 years of operation, need has never been this high. The Food Foundation reported that 4 million children lived in food insecure households in September 2022; a sharp increase from the 2.6 million reported just six months earlier. Inflation for food, meanwhile, sits at 16.9% and rising. It hasn’t been this high since 1977.  

This has huge implications for our country and our country’s children and young people. When they’re hungry, children and young people aren’t able to learn. Behaviour worsens. Heads go down onto desks. Headaches prevent concentration. The learning environment is made more difficult. 

And then there’s the long-term impact – missed lessons compound, bringing down the educational outcomes for those impacted by morning hunger. That’s why we are asking the government to step in immediately, and headteachers across England are doing the same. 

One Headteacher in County Durham explained: “Now more than ever before, our children need funding to ensure they are able to start the day with a nutritious breakfast. I wholeheartedly support the Magic Breakfast campaign.” – Headteacher, County Durham.  

Another Headteacher in London added: “Having a free breakfast club for pupils has been a great way to support our pupils’ learning and ensure no one starts their school day hungry. […] The demand for a free breakfast from parents is high. This is a really valuable service that positively impacts on pupils’ lives and future life opportunities.” 

The evidence supporting school breakfast provision is clear. Breakfast provision can generate 2 months of additional progress in reading, writing and maths for children in Year 2, and secondary school children who eat breakfast regularly have been found to achieve on average 2 GCSEs higher than children who rarely eat breakfast. School breakfasts can also generate long-term benefits to the economy of around £9,200 per child, meaning a return of £50 to the public purse for every £1 spent.  

Right now, we are doing everything we can. Schools remain absolutely committed to delivering for young people, and the charity sector has stepped in – on the day you read this blog, Magic Breakfast will have worked in school settings providing breakfasts across the country. But we simply cannot do this alone. Nor can teachers.  

Last year, the Chancellor stood up in Parliament and thanked teachers. He said that the ‘message to heads and teachers and classroom assistants today is thank you for your brilliant work, we need it to continue.’ He told the nation that ‘being pro-education is being pro-growth’, and that ‘providing our children with a good education is not just an economic mission, it’s a moral mission’.  

Today, though, we’re asking him to act.  

There are approximately 10,000 schools in England with high levels of disadvantage. The current NSBP only reaches one-quarter of these. More has to be done, clearly, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer commits to expanding funding for the NSBP by £18million over the next 18months, up to 2,500 more schools in England can be supported with breakfast provision, allowing thousands more children to start their day with the fuel they need to reach their

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3 January 2024

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