Government considers extending the school breakfast programme

Boris Johnson’s government is considering extending its schools breakfast programme beyond the current deadline of July, the children’s ministers has confirmed.

Funded by the Department for Education, the programme aims to support children in disadvantaged communities by providing access to free healthy breakfasts during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.

Vicky Ford confirmed that the government is “considering options” when pressed on the issue by Labour’s Emma Lewell-Buck in the House of Commons yesterday.

Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields, asked: “The Government’s current school breakfast programme only provides for 7% of schools that meet the Government’s deprivation criteria and it ends in July.

“Pre-pandemic, up to two million children were starting their school day without a breakfast.

“My School Breakfast Bill would extend and scale up provision via funds from the soft drinks levy – please can she ask the Chancellor to implement my Bill and get breakfast in the Budget?”

In response, Ms Ford said: I completely agree that a healthy and nutritious breakfast sets a child up for a learning day. We have extended the programme until July of this year and are considering options for breakfast provision beyond that date.

“We are engaging with the market to help develop those options and we expect to be able to say more very soon.”

The school’s breakfasts programme was revised in Autumn 2020 to ensure that more disadvantaged pupils, across both primary and secondary schools, have access to a free and nutritious breakfast.

Schools are offered breakfast delivery grants and deliveries of healthy food to ensure all children who need it can access breakfast, at home or at school.

The programme is run by Family Action and Magic Breakfast, two UK based charities focused on providing practical, emotional and financial support to those who are experiencing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation across the country.