Twenty Borough Schools to Provide Free Breakfasts

Year long trial in partnership with Magic Breakfast could be extended

Kate Stock (centre)and Clare Mitchell (left) handing out bagels to children
Kate Stock (centre)and Clare Mitchell (left) handing out bagels to children

March 28, 2023

A pilot scheme is being launched in 20 schools across Wandsworth borough which will see children being given free breakfast.

The trial is being funded by the council in partnership with the Magic Breakfast charity as part of wider work to tackle food insecurity due to rising prices

A hot, nutritious breakfast will be provided for any child that needs it and the scheme could be expanded if it deemed successful.

Kate Stock, cabinet member for children, has been along to one of the schools participating, St Mary’s in Battersea to see the scheme in action. She said, “We believe that every child has the basic right to healthy food. Understanding the link between healthy breakfasts and readiness to learn makes addressing food poverty a priority for us.”

Associate headteacher Clare Mitchell said that as well as sit-down breakfasts, all children could also grab a hot buttered bagel on their way into school. “It means every child has access to a breakfast and can start the day fuelled and ready to learn.

Three percent of primary school children in Wandsworth have nothing to eat for breakfast and 17 per cent of secondary pupils don’t eat lunch. Nineteen per cent are obese by the age of 11 because less healthy food tends to be cheaper.

The Wandsworth Foodbank reports the number of emergency food supplies to local people has increased by 53 per cent compared to before the pandemic, with a third of them going to children. It also states that six out of ten parents at the foodbank had skipped meals so their children can eat.

Magic Breakfasts are part of a wider plan to make sure more children get access to free, nutritious meals.

Recently the council announced it has increased the value of the vouchers it provides to families on free school meals during the holidays from £15 a week to £20 to address child hunger. Wandsworth has also welcomed a scheme from the Mayor of London offering free school meals to all primary pupils for one year.

Other work will include encouraging all eligible families to apply for free school meals and healthy start vouchers, drawing up a new specification for the school meals contract and running holiday schemes that provide free lunches for children on free school meals, like the upcoming Wandsworth Connected Easter holiday scheme.

Find out about other support on the Cost of Living Hub.

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