To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the value of school breakfast clubs, and (2) the impact of hunger on learning in the classroom; and what steps they intend to take in response.
The department knows that breakfast clubs can bring a wide range of benefits for children. An evaluation by the Education Endowment Foundation found that supporting schools to run a free of charge, universal breakfast club before school delivered an average of 2 months additional progress for pupils in key stage 1 with moderate to low security. Breakfast club schools also saw an improvement in pupil behaviour and attendance.
We support around 1.4 million children through universal infant free school meals, and a further 1.4 million through the benefit related free school meals, providing nutritious meals for children.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have continued to support children learning at home while schools were largely closed, through the provision of vouchers or lunch parcels. Our supplier, Edenred, have reported that more than £90 million vouchers have been redeemed by families for use in supermarkets during the most recent period of school closures.
The department is investing up to £38 million in the National School Breakfast Programme. This money is kick-starting or improving breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas, making them sustainable in the long run. Approximately 280,000 children are supported by this scheme.
We are extending our support for breakfast clubs until 2023, to make sure thousands of children in disadvantaged areas have a healthy start to the day.