MP for Gedling Vernon Coaker has called on the government to keep funding a school breakfast scheme which ensures pupils in the borough are never too ‘hungry to learn’.
Mr Coaker was amongst 35 MPs from across the House of Commons, to write to the Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi to highlight the positive impact of the National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP) and ask for continued funding.
The MP for Gedling said the NSBP is currently providing free school breakfasts in 1 school in Gedling.
Across the whole Programme, an average of 153 children per school benefit from the breakfast provision.
The National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP), delivered by the charities Family Action and Magic Breakfast, is reaching over 1,775 schools in disadvantaged areas across England and is providing free and nutritious breakfasts to an estimated 280,000 children every school day, 115 000 of whom are eligible for Pupil Premium funding.
Teachers surveyed reported that breakfast provision improved behaviour, alertness and concentration amongst pupils who might otherwise be missing out on a whole morning of learning.
The NSBP is currently scheduled to close in March 2020 but funding can be extended under the current contract.
Vernon Coaker is calling on the Department for Education to make an early decision to continue funding the programme to maintain the momentum of this very successful programme.
He said: “Continued funding will help to build long term sustainability within the programme and will create new opportunities to provide nutritious free school breakfasts to more children in more schools, and in the meantime, will prevent hundreds of thousands of children from once again being at risk of hunger in the morning.”
The letter was spearheaded by Emma Hardy MP, a member of the Education Select Committee who said, “It is shocking that 1.8 million school age children in the UK are at risk of hunger each morning.
“As a former teacher, I know that hungry children cannot concentrate on lessons and end up missing out on hours of valuable learning. The National School Breakfast Programme is a positive step towards addressing this injustice.
“Our letter has been signed by MPs across the House of Commons and across the country and I would urge the Minister to do everything in his power to ensure that this vital funding continues beyond March 2020’.