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Primary school breakfast clubs 'can enhance academic performance'

10/11/2016 Joanna

Providing primary school pupils with a nutritious breakfast can help to bolster their academic performance during the day, according to a new report.

A study backed by the Education Endowment Foundation has indicated that breakfast clubs offering free breakfasts to primary schoolchildren on a daily basis can help to improve their reading, writing and maths results.

The charity Magic Breakfast was responsible for providing breakfasts including cereals, wheat biscuits, porridge and bagels to 8,600 pupils from 106 English primary schools with higher-than-average numbers of disadvantaged pupils over the course of a full academic year.

It was shown that Year 2 students attending schools with breakfast club schemes made two additional months' progress in reading, writing and maths compared with a similar group whose schools did not offer breakfast, with behaviour and concentration levels also improving.

Moreover, the findings indicated that these clubs helped to improve outcomes for all children at the schools offering them, not just the individuals who actually attended the breakfast sessions. This is because the clubs helped to create better classroom environments, with social and educational benefits associated with the breakfast club, as well as nutritional advantages.

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: "Many schools across the country already offer some sort of breakfast provision; that's why the findings from today's evaluation report are so encouraging.

"Not only does a good breakfast provide all young people with a nutritious start to the day, but well-run breakfast clubs have the potential to boost attainment and behaviour too."

The results provide support for the government's 2013 School Food Plan, which recommended that breakfast clubs should be set up in schools with the highest levels of deprivation.

The Education Endowment Foundation said the report shows there may be benefits to an expansion of the policy using a free, universal before-school model.

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