Breakfast Club Funding Extended To 2023
The Government has announced it will continue to fund school breakfast clubs for a further two years, until 2023. However, this falls short of the call for a School Breakfast Bill.
Currently, our friends at Magic Breakfast and Family Action deliver the National Schools Breakfast Programme (NSBP). The Programme supports schools in the most disadvantaged areas across England to set up and run breakfast clubs. We see this as vitally important, since we know that school breakfasts ensure that children are well nourished and ready to learn, which helps to improve attainment.
After several extensions and campaigning last year, funding for the NSBP was due to end in July 2021. In response to this, in February we supported Magic Breakfast in the call for extending and scaling up the Programme. This week, the Department for Education (DfE) has published a tender for the running of a breakfast club programme from July 2021 until 2023.
However, the new contract’s terms differ to those of the NSBP. Magic Breakfast has observed that the DfE’s plans will support 2,500 schools, falling short of the 8,700 in disadvantaged areas that would have been supported by the School Breakfast Bill. Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Kate Green MP, referred to the announcement as a ‘pitiful response’ to the call for universal breakfast clubs.
The importance of school breakfasts during the pandemic has provided yet more evidence of how much school food matters. Uncertainty around the provision of school food interventions only adds to the pressures school leaders and families face in caring for the most vulnerable children. In order to ensure joined-up, consistent provision, we want the Government to undertake a full review of school food.
In other news ...
Along with fellow organisations in the Eating Better Alliance, we have put together new guidance for local authorities on sustainable and healthy food procurement.
Food price inflation is compounding the devastating impact of rising bills and lessening support, especially for families with children on free school meals.