The study for charity 4Children warns of a "silent...
- Education Professionals
Breakfast clubs forced to close
40% of schools in 128 local authorities reported a decrease in the number of breakfast clubs, Essex county council said the county had 219 breakfast clubs in schools last year, but 169 this year. In Surrey, 2,870 children received breakfast last year compared to 1,200 in 2012.
Earlier this month, Magic Breakfast, a charity which provides free breakfasts to more than 6,000 children in 210 primary schools in England, reported a rise in the number of schools applying for food support. There have been cases of ‘desperate’ primary schools seeking help because local charities supporting their breakfast clubs have run out of funds.
Many children go to school hungry because of their parents’ working hours and, increasingly, families’ inability to afford their children’s breakfast at home. With the recession taking a bite, parents are having to sometimes choose between a meal for themselves and their children.
Experts say children going to school hungry cannot focus in class. Breakfast clubs are seen by many as important for learning and reaching educational goals. According to figures obtained by Magic Breakfast, 88% of schools said their breakfast clubs improved children’s attainment and achievement. 93% said they increased children’s concentration and energy in class.
In 2007, Wales introduced free breakfasts for all primary school children entitled to free school meals. The Department for Education has said it does not plan to follow suit, despite campaigns for free breakfasts for primary school pupils in England.