DfE to fund breakfast club provision in thousands of schools

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More than 1,770 schools in areas of deprivation are to benefit from an investment of £26 million by the DfE to provide children with a healthy and nutritious breakfast.

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The £26m will fund breakfast clubs in thousands more schools

The education secretary Damian Hinds announced today the funding for schools to support disadvantaged children and the charities that will run breakfast clubs

Last year, Nursery World revealed a tender exercise was to take place in the autumn for the programme.

Funded through the Government’s soft drinks industry levy, the aim of the programme is to provide children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the DfE’s Opportunity Areas, with a healthy and nutritious breakfast to set them up for the school day.

It forms part of the Government’s drive to support an active and healthy childhood through the Childhood Obesity Plan.

Under the programme, Family Action in partnership with Magic Breakfast will run breakfast clubs in more than 1,770 schools from this Spring. It is understood this will include new and existing school breakfast clubs.

Schools with at least half of pupils in IDACI bands A-F (the most deprived pupils) will be prioritised. Such schools without breakfast clubs in Opportunity Areas are first priority, followed by such schools outside the Opportunity Areas.

It will be up to schools to decide whether the funding they receive to provide breakfast provision will cover just disadvantaged children or all pupils.

Family Action and Magic Breakfast will also look at how they can encourage more children to attend these programmes and improve collaboration and sharing of best practice across schools.

Damian Hinds said, ‘A healthy breakfast can help fuel children’s concentration so they can get the most out of their school day.

‘Children only get one chance at an education and they deserve the best, whatever their background. That is why we are giving more pupils in some of the country’s most disadvantaged areas the chance to go to a breakfast club.

‘Paid for by the Government’s soft drinks levy, this investment will help raise education standards further and will make sure young people have happy, healthy childhoods.

‘The new clubs are due to start this spring. As well as providing a healthy and nutritious meal, many will also offer children the chance to be more active and develop their knowledge and skills through extra-curricular activities to improve their learning.

David Holmes, chief executive of Family Action, said, ‘Breakfast clubs play 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, 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.’

The National Association of Head Teachers(NAHT) has however criticised the Government’s announcement of more funding for breakfast clubs as it falls short of what was originally promised in the Conservative party’s manifesto.

The NAHT’s general secretary Paul Whiteman said, ‘It is disappointing that, hot on the heels of the Government failing to extend free school meals to millions of families in poverty, they have now abandoned a manifesto commitment to give every primary school child a free breakfast.

 ‘The funding announced today is far less than originally promised and will only affect a few children. School leaders see so many children arrive at school hungry and unable to learn – a nutritious meal is vital for their wellbeing and education.

‘Meanwhile, we know that not all children who are eligible for free school meals claim them – currently one in ten eligible children miss out. Auto-registration for free school meals would mean that more children get the support they are entitled to, as well as boosting Pupil Premium funding to support their education.’

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