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Motivating students to eat a healthy breakfast

10 June 2019

We look at how our National School Breakfast Programme and an Aston Villa footballer are inspiring secondary school students to see the value of eating a nutritious breakfast.

The National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP) has been providing the students of Turves Green Girls’ School with a free breakfast since November last year. The school previously offered their students a charged breakfast, but less than 2% of students attended. The Senior Leadership Team, motivated by the compelling evidence of reducing hunger to achieve improved attainment, made ambitious plans to vastly increase student uptake by opting to introduce breakfast during the morning form sessions. With the help of a dedicated team of students preparing and delivering the bagels, every year group starts their day with a healthy breakfast, and the provision is growing from strength to strength, ensuring all students start their day ready to learn

Educating on the importance of breakfast

Turves Green Girls School is a small, single sex school in south Birmingham, offering girls aged 11-16 years a nurturing environment to develop and succeed; providing a free healthy breakfast as part of the NSBP demonstrates the value placed by the school on the wellbeing of their students. However, eating a healthy breakfast can be challenging for some teenage girls; students often have misconceptions around eating breakfast and weight gain, and many lack awareness about the negative effects of hunger on concentration and learning.

Driven by a sense that the young people they serve deserve the very best, the School embraced the opportunity to work with the innovation team from the National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP). This partnership aims to improve students’ eating habits through developing a greater understanding of the positive impact that eating a nutritious breakfast can have on learning, health and wellbeing. Educating the students on the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast has gone hand in hand with the success of the provision and they are now serving 400 bagel halves every day!

Football and bagels

The School and NSBP were delighted to welcome Kerri Welsh, captain of Aston Villa Ladies FC (AVLFC), to share breakfast with the students and talk to them about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast to kick-start their day – fuelling their bodies and brains for learning.

“if free bagels were available to me when I was at school, I would have been eating them every day”

Kerri shared with the students how she always makes time for breakfast, valuing the impact eating a healthy breakfast has on her own health and her performance as a professional athlete. She said that she and her team mates routinely enjoy quick, simple and nutritious breakfasts of bagels, avocados and poached eggs, as well as beans on toast and porridge topped with bananas and berries.

During a school assembly Kerri inspired the students to look after their bodies and wellbeing by encouraging them to eat breakfast, provided by the National School Breakfast Programme, every day.

Kerri highlighted the benefits afforded to the students by their school taking part in the National School Breakfast Programme and recalled how she did not have a free breakfast when she was at school, but if free bagels had been available to her at school, she would have grabbed the chance to eat them:

“I guarantee that if free bagels were available to me when I was at school, I would have been eating them every day”.

She went on to explain how simple it was for the students at Turves Green Girls’ School to start the day the right way:

“All you have to do is turn up and eat, it couldn’t be any simpler!

Many of the girls enjoy daily bagels, however student engagement in Years 10 and 11 poses a perennial challenge to schools. Kerri addressed this in her closing words, by setting the students a challenge, she urged them to opt for the healthy option and to eat a bagel every day for the next 2 weeks:

“I promise you, you will see a difference!”.

Collaborative relationships

The National School Breakfast Programme values the support of sporting institutions such as Aston Villa FC, providing the students with a valuable opportunity to listen to role models, such as professional athletes like Kerri, who help to motivate students to understand the intrinsic value that eating a healthy breakfast can have on their future. Our sincere thanks to Kerri and Aston Villa Ladies FC.

Find out more about our National School Breakfast Programme here or read more updates from the team.