As many as 1.8 million school age children in the UK are at risk of hunger in the morning.*  A hungry child cannot concentrate.  For 34p Magic Breakfast can give a child a healthy breakfast and wrap-around support at school, opening up hours of crucial lesson time in the morning.

In our 2019 survey of Magic Breakfast partner schools, 70% of respondents said they believed that child hunger (generally) had increased in their school community in the past year. This is consistent with perceived changes in poverty, with 80% of Magic Breakfast partner schools reporting an increase in poverty in their school community in the past year.

While there are many reasons schools attributed to the perceived increase in child hunger and poverty, some of the most common include:

  • Universal credit roll-out. This has resulted in many families receiving delayed benefit payments causing increased strain on resources for periods of time and requiring families to take a new approach to budgeting.
  • Zero-hour contracts remain a problem in some communities meaning families are reliant on food parcels, for example, between periods of work.
  • Schools are increasingly referring families to food banks and/or providing food parcels for families.
  • Increased number of children eligible for Free School Meals or Pupil Premium on roll, and/or pupils arriving at school hungry.

“We did have a couple of children who really did cry with the hunger. They didn't know what was wrong with them. They would say that their tummy was sore. But when you asked them 'When did you last eat?' or asked if they'd had anything that morning, you found they hadn't.” Patricia McGowan, the head of Abercorn Secondary, Glasgow, interviewed by the i newspaper.    

“At about 11:30 children start going to the classroom door because they can smell the school lunch and are hungry.  They can’t wait to get into the main hall to eat.  We have to ask them to sit down and wait. It’s heartbreaking.”

“Some of our children come to school with the remains of yesterday’s take away in their lunch box – some cold fried chicken (mostly bones) and a few cold chips.”

These are quotes from Staff at Magic Breakfast partner schools. We are keeping most of their identities confidential so that individual children can't be identified. 

Magic Breakfast Pupil Survey, designed to gauge the amount of hunger and malnutrition in a school, filled in by a pupil in 2015:

“These kids only have one chance at childhood, and one chance at education. Education is going to be their best way out of poverty. By feeding and valuing them, Magic Breakfast makes a practical difference to these children every single day.”

Quote from the Head of Extended Hours, De Bohun Primary School, London.

*Ref: Pereira, A.L., Handa, S. and Holmqvist, G. Prevalence. Correlates of Food Insecurity Among Children Across the Globe, Innocenti Working Paper, UNICEF Office of Research, Florence. 2017.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The child in the photograph is unrelated to the content on this page. Her image is being used to illustrate the page visually only.