From education to employment

The Government announces £24 million for breakfast clubs over the next two academic years

Breakfast bowl

The Government announces £24 million for breakfast clubs over the next two academic years 

@EducationGovUK are extending funding for school breakfast clubs to help make sure thousands of children have a healthy start to the day. £24 million will be available to continue our support for a further 2 years.

Kate Green MP 100x100

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to the Government’s announcement of continued funding for breakfast clubs, said:

“This is a pitiful response to Labour’s call for a universal breakfast club offer for every child. This funding is likely to provide breakfast club support to just four per cent of children which is simply not good enough.

“Labour is calling for breakfast clubs to be available to support every child to recover the learning and social development they have lost during the pandemic.

“From providing a measly 43p per child per day for educational catch-up to offering no additional funding for schools in the Budget, the Conservatives have shown they are simply not ambitious about children’s recovery from this pandemic.”

The National Schools Breakfast Programme reached 280,000 children across 1,800 schools. The new funding will reach 2,500 schools according to Government tender, estimated reach would therefore be 388,889 children, or 4% of the total 8.8 million school children in England.

Last week (8 Mar) Labour called for a universal breakfast clubs offer to be available to every child to help them recover the learning and social development lost during the pandemic

Labour calls for catch-up breakfast clubs to help children recover lost learning and social development

8 Mar 2021: Labour is calling on the Government to introduce catch-up breakfast clubs, to help kids recover the time with friends and teachers lost during the pandemic.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer and Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green will launch a new ‘Bright Future Taskforce’ on a visit to a school in Dagenham, East London. Labour’s new taskforce will deliver a long-term strategy for children’s recovery and ensure every child has the chance to fulfil their potential.

On the day schools reopen fully in England, new analysis from Labour shows that children have each lost an average of 109 face-to-face school days. The Government has failed to show the ambition needed to help children make-up this time with no mention of children in last week’s Budget and Ministers’ single-year catch-up plan amounting to just 43p a day per child over the next school year.

Labour is calling for breakfast clubs to help make-up for this lost time. Breakfast clubs will support children’s wellbeing with extra time to socialise, while also giving schools extra time to provide targeted tuition or catch up support. Evidence shows breakfast clubs can boost children’s educational attainment with positive impacts on reading and writing.

Under the Conservatives, progress in closing the attainment gap had stalled for five years, leaving disadvantaged pupils 18 months behind their peers when taking their GCSEs. Evidence suggests children in families that are struggling financially have fallen furthest behind their peers during national lockdowns.

Launching the Bright Future Taskforce will fulfil Keir Starmer’s pledge to establish a taskforce at Labour Connected in 2020, when he called for a national strategy to close the education gap at every stage in a child’s development.

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“The Government has treated our children as an afterthought throughout this pandemic and now they are being forgotten in our recovery.

“I am announcing our Bright Future Taskforce to ensure every child can recover from the impacts of the pandemic and every child is able to reach their potential.

“Labour wants to see our children’s recovery at the heart of efforts to rebuild our country so we can make Britain the best place to grow-up in.”

Kate Green MP, Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“The Government’s catch-up plans fall woefully short of the support needed to help children recover from the pandemic, condemning the life chances of a generation of young people.

“Ministers should listen to Labour’s call for breakfast clubs to give every child a healthy breakfast, more time to play with their friends and extra time for teachers to provide targeted catch-up support. The Government must be more ambitious for children’s recovery.”

Last Summer (3 Jul 2020), The Department for Education confirmed that charity co-ordinators of the National Breakfast Club Programme, Family Action and Magic Breakfast, will work closely with schools in disadvantaged areas so children most in need can continue to get a healthy breakfast:

As schools will remain closed during this period, Family Action and Magic Breakfast are making arrangements with schools on the programme so that they can access this provision over the summer, which may include parents collecting food parcels or breakfast food ‘drop offs’ to make sure families are getting the support they need.

The extension of the Breakfast Clubs programme builds on the Government’s commitment to supporting families on low-incomes who, as a result of the pandemic, may be finding it hard to provide healthy food for their children outside of the school term. It follows the Department for Education’s recent announcement of the Covid Summer Food Fund that will provide free school meals to eligible pupils nationally over the holidays.

Children’s Minister Vicky Ford said: 

“My priority has always been to protect and support the children who need a helping hand, and it’s more important than ever before that they remain at the heart of everything we do.

“Extending our popular and successful Breakfast Club programme over the summer holidays will mean thousands of children continue getting a positive start to their day.

“As a Government, we are responding to the needs of families who are struggling – that’s why we put in place an unprecedented package of support to tackle the unique challenges they face.”

The Covid Summer Food Fund will support children who are eligible for free school meals with a voucher to cover the full six-week summer holiday. The Government is also delivering at least four weeks of free activities and healthy food for around 50,000 children via its Holiday Activities and Food programme in 17 local authorities across England during July and August.

It follows the news that supermarket Iceland has joined the Government’s national voucher scheme for free school meals, joining the existing list eight shops already signed up to the scheme including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, M&S, Aldi and McColl’s where vouchers can already be redeemed. The Community Shop, which has several outlets around the country, will also join the list and families will be able to redeem vouchers for the Covid Summer Food Fund at all of these stores. 

David Holmes CBE, Chief Executive of Family Action said: 

“Family Action and Magic Breakfast, as the providers of the National School Breakfast Programme, have succeeded in keeping this essential programme open and available to over a thousand schools and tens of thousands of children and families during lockdown. We are delighted to flex the Programme delivery so that we can now also support many National School Breakfast Programme schools, children and families with access to nutritious breakfast supplies during the coming summer holidays.”

Related Articles