There are very occasionally opportunities that cross my desk that just appear too good to be true. Usually, the hidden catch quickly becomes obvious and the offer can be consigned to the delete folder or recycling bin. However, a few months ago we were informed of a charity called Magic Breakfast, that was able to provide us with a free breakfast for every student. After repeatedly asking ‘what’s the catch?’ I began to realise that this was just one of those rare amazing opportunities you cannot refuse. For the last fortnight we have now been offering free breakfast for every single child in our academy. Students can arrive and eat a hot bagel or cereal to ensure they have a healthy and nutritious start to the day and, other than the staff time involved, there is no cost to the school or the students.
Magic Breakfast’s motto is to ensure that ‘no child is too hungry to learn’ and their aim is to provide a healthy breakfast to vulnerable children. You can read more about this excellent organisation here https://www.magicbreakfast.com
I think this opportunity is fantastic for a number of reasons:
There is no stigma attached to being given a breakfast. Because Magic Breakfast has allowed us to offer breakfast to everyone in our school, there is no need to publicly identify our students who may need the free breakfast due to their own personal circumstances.
A healthy, nutritious breakfast is shown to have a positive impact on learning. Students who have breakfast have been shown to concentrate better in lessons and therefore learn more effectively.
Positive social interactions are encouraged. Staff are allowed to share breakfast with our students to promote good habits. We have also been able to invite parents to have breakfast with their children as part of this programme, helping to spread the word and highlight the importance of a healthy breakfast in a child’s development.
We are now looking at ways to provide students the option of ‘grab and go’ bagels on our front gate as well as from the dining hall and we are exploring a range of options to make the dining hall more inviting in the morning so we can build on the already lovely atmosphere created by our new breakfast offer. We have some fantastic staff who are really passionate about this scheme and their enthusiasm and ideas will ensure that we can reach as many students possible.
Funding has been confirmed for this project for the next year and we really hope it will continue for far, far longer.