MP Amber Rudd visits one of our National School Breakfast Programme’s schools to show her why it’s important that the 280,000 children accessing free breakfasts, don’t lose out on their fuel for learning due to government funding cuts.
The National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP) was delighted to invite Amber Rudd, local MP for Hastings and Rye, to The Baird Primary Academy, which joined the Programme in January this year. Carmel McConnell MBE, founder of Magic Breakfast, along with Nicola Dolton, Programme Manager for the NSBP, joined Amber to see the positive impact the NSBP is having on the children at the school. They also heard from Headteacher, Ms Carly Welch, on how the government-funded programme has improved attendance and punctuality, in this large and vibrant school.“The National School Breakfast Programme has transformed our provision at The Baird. Our pupils love coming to our breakfast club and not only appreciate the food provided, but also the sociable start to the day, enjoying a healthy breakfast with their friends.”
Ms Welch has been in post for three years and is the driving force behind the school’s effort to improve its local standing. Supported by initiatives, such as, The National School Breakfast Programme, the school has grown from strength to strength. Since the NSBP breakfast provision was introduced at the school, attendance figures have increased and behaviour has significantly improved: “Pupils are now able to recognise the fact that feeling hungry means they lack focus in their learning, and are able to have a healthy breakfast in school to address this. As a result, our pupils are more focused in their learning and our attendance has improved.”
The Baird Primary Academy is one of seventeen schools in Amber Rudd’s constituency supported by the NSBP. The school serves a diverse community and has embraced the opportunity to ensure their children have the very best start to their day. Amber joined the children for breakfast, enjoying the delicious ‘magic’ bagels and chatting to the children about their favourite things to eat. Amber commented: “I am delighted that healthy school breakfasts are being provided, which will benefit pupils by improving their concentration, behaviour, attendance and general wellbeing.” Due to the support of the NSBP, the Breakfast Club can now open its doors to the whole school, to access a free and nutritious breakfast. Close to 100 pupils arrive every day to the bustling breakfast club, keen to tuck into a healthy choice of cereal, bagels and fruit. A team of devoted staff volunteer their time to prepare the breakfast, buttering bagels and chopping fruit; whilst children chosen as Breakfast Monitors, help serve the cereal.
“ensuring that every child has the opportunity to be fed and so is ready to learn”
Children clean up after themselves by washing their own dishes – a team effort all round! Not only does the school serve a large number of children at the breakfast club, it goes even further to ensure a free breakfast is available to all children. Roz Aldie, the school’s Pupil Premium Champion, targets year groups who have lower attendance at the club by taking baskets of bagels to them, to enjoy in class before their lessons begin. Amber joined the Headteacher as she walked around the school to see the children offered bagels in class, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to be fed and so is ready to learn – the children even eat their bagels on the way to school assembly!
Roz has noted a significant improvement in children’s social skills, using their manners and improving their independence and self-care. Since introducing the club, parents have commented on how the free school breakfast has really helped to take the stress out of the morning: “Parents are supported to provide their child with a healthy breakfast despite the busy morning routine.”
The school has worked with the local Tesco Store, who provides the Breakfast Club with free low-fat spread, to make the bagels extra delicious! Mandy Ashenden, Tesco Community Champion, was thrilled to be able to support the school by providing free spread – a fantastic saving for the school and forging a great partnership with a local supplier.
Impressed by the overwhelmingly positive impact the National School Breakfast Programme is having on schools such as The Baird Primary, Amber Rudd told the NSBP that she supported the continuation of this vital provision: “This funding from Government is crucial to helping children from vulnerable families throughout our towns and I commend this initiative to provide healthy meals for these children. This is why I will be writing to Minister Zahawi to ask what settlement will be provided by the Government to continue this Programme in the future”.
Our National School Breakfast Programme currently reaches over 280,000 children across England every school day. Together we want to work to keep providing fuel for learning and reach even more children. Find out more about the National School Breakfast Programme here.