“You can always tell if a child has eaten breakfast – they concentrate more in class and behave better too,” says Stockport head teacher Mike O’Brien talking to the BBC.
His school, St Bernadette’s RC Primary, runs a breakfast club for 80 children each day – but Mr O’Brien fears they might not be able to fund it in future.
And of 750 teachers polled for food company Kellogg’s, which sponsors 3,000 clubs, two fifths are equally worried.
Kellogg’s commissioned the polling company YouGov to question teachers in schools with breakfast clubs throughout the UK. Of those who responded, 43% feared their breakfast club could close within three years. Of these, 86% said breakfast clubs were being squeezed by wider pressures on school funding.
The school runs free booster classes in numeracy or literacy alongside the breakfasts, as well as arts and crafts, reading and organised games.
“Clearly the 30p an item charge doesn’t cover this so we’re left wondering how we’re going to be able to run it in the future.”
John Coe of the National Association of Primary Education said, “the impact upon disadvantaged communities will be particularly severe”.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said the government had committed to a £10m a year programme to expand breakfast clubs in up to 1,600 schools in England. A tendering exercise would start this autumn, she said, with a particular focus “on supporting disadvantaged pupils, families, schools and areas”.
Do you fear for your breakfast club? Has it become an essential part of your school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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