The Director of Caritas Westminter, John Coleby, has today signed a letter to Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, demanding that funding for school breakfasts is included in the upcoming budget on 3 March.
COVID-19 has led to rising levels of food insecurity amongst children. The Food Foundation estimates that 14% of families with children experienced food insecurity between March and August 2020 – that’s 2.3 million children.
These children are likely to be turning up to school hungry, and, unless they are lucky enough to have a free breakfast when they get there, this means they are not able to learn. An evaluation conducted by the Education Endowment Foundation and Institute for Fiscal Studies found that Year 2 pupils who attend a school with a universal, free school breakfast provision make two months additional academic progress compared to children who attend a school with no such breakfast provision.
The organisation Magic Breakfast has been pushing for better funding for school breakfasts, to ensure no child is too hungry to learn. Today’s letter asks Ms Ford to use her influence to get this issue addressed properly in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget next month.