‘Children who attend are happier, display better behaviours and manage their emotions more suitably. This allows access to improved learning for all.’
Learning mentor (Extract from ‘Healthy schools, healthy children? The contribution of education to pupils health and well-being’ Ofsted, June 2006)
Why are breakfast clubs so important?
What will make people want to support them, whether financially or in kind? Why should a school or a community group invest time and resources in offering provision that has traditionally been part of the private family sphere?
Breakfast clubs aren’t intended as a replacement of this family time. They are an alternative option when, for a number of reasons, breakfast in another environment is a welcome choice. This might include:
- young people experiencing economic and social poverty – who aren’t provided with food or education about healthy eating at home
- those whose last hot meal was their school lunch. Monday morning breakfast is a crucial time
- young people who have a long journey to school who leave home too early for breakfast
- families where both parents work and need a safe place for their children to go early in the morning
- young people who find school difficult, who benefit from experiencing learning and interacting with school staff in a less formal environment
- young people for whom home isn’t a safe and supportive place
- young people who need support mixing with their peers and other age groups
- where a club provides additional opportunities, like the chance to learn a new skill or take on a role of responsibility.
Benefits of a balanced meal
By offering a balanced meal, a safe and stimulating environment and social and emotional support to young people breakfast clubs have repeatedly reported the following benefits:
- improved behaviour
- improved attendance
- increased concentration, therefore potentially achievement
- improved punctuality
- reduced bullying through increased cross-age/peer-group communication
- improved social skills and confidence to interact with children and adults alike
- increased understanding of the importance of a healthy eating regime and energy balance
- renewed interest in curriculum subjects
- enhanced relationships with family members and the wider community breakfast clubs.
Teaching staff have reported at least 30 minutes more effective teaching time per day as a result of introducing breakfast clubs. Over an academic year, those minutes add up!
Resources to help you prove the benefits
- The Breakfast Club Plus resource page has top tips on how to link your club into the curriculum. It also demonstrates how breakfast clubs are an essential part of study support.
- For more information and guidance on study support and its benefits visit ContinYou’s Study Support ETC website.
- Download a simple table listing all the benefits of breakfast clubs against key education and children’s services agendas (PDF file)
- Download a table listing the benefits of breakfast and the associated funding stream (Word file)
Reports and links
Searching for ato support your breakfast club or funding bid?
- Burger boy and sporty girl: What children say about school meals, Barnardo’s, December 2004. Follow the link for more information and to download the report.
- Fit For School: How Breakfast Clubs Meet Health, Education and Childcare Needs, NPI, March 1999. Follow the link for more information and to download the report.
- The Food Standards Agency’s Eatwell website. Lots of useful health facts and figures to support the healthy breakfast club message.
- Food for the Brain – A great website highlighting the link between nutrition and wellbeing. It has a special section for parents and schools and great menu ideas.
- Healthy living blueprint for schools, DfES, September 2004.Follow the link for more information and to download the report.
- Healthy schools, healthy children? The contribution of education to pupils health and well-being, Ofsted, June 2006
- Starting early: Food and nutrition education of young children (PDF file), Ofsted, July 2004
- School Food Trust: the updated website has tons of useful information on nutritional standards for schools. This link takes you straight to the relevant info for breakfast clubs.
- Turning the Tables: Transforming School Food. A report on the development and implementation of nutritional standards for school lunches, School Meals Review Panel, September 2005
- Appetite for life consultation document (PDF file) Welsh Assembly Government consultation document and recommendations for food standards in welsh schools.
View some videos made for the Blue Peter Mission Nutrition project, that highlight the benefits of breakfast clubs.