This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Urgent cash injection needed in Scotland's schools to tackle "hidden hunger"

This news post is 9 months old

School pupils are going hungry

Some £28m is needed urgently to tackle food poverty in Scotland’s schoo,ls a charity has warned.

A survey of 1,411 Scottish schools, carried out by education charity Magic Breakfast, has found that 41% have no breakfast provision - and that a quarter of those that offer food in the morning charge for it, with the charges ranging from 20p to £6.

In the schools that charged, over half offered some free provision. But the charity found this was usually "provided on an ad hoc basis at the discretion of staff" and "often capped".

It also found that uptake of breakfast provision in Scotland was the lowest of any UK nation, with an average of 22 pupils per school per day taking up the offer.

The charity is calling on the Scottish government to invest in school breakfasts in primary and special schools. It estimates that this will cost £28 million to deliver and says the money "should be allocated from unspent PEF (Pupil Equity Fund)".

Lindsey MacDonald, chief executive at Magic Breakfast, said: "The Hidden Hunger report exposes the lottery of school breakfast funding and provision in Scotland and the impact that this has on children and young people's learning and life chances.

"There is an opportunity for Scotland to move from patchy provision to having the best school food policy of any nation, improving and tackling the inequality of education and attainment.

"Breakfast provision is proven to boost grades, improve attendance and, importantly, acts as one additional way to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis facing Scottish families."

However, Magic Breakfast also warns that traditional breakfast clubs, run before the start of the school day, can fail to reach the pupils who need the provision most because they are unable to attend school early enough.

Other models it recommends include classroom breakfasts, where pupils come to class 15 minutes before the start of the day and eat breakfast at their classroom tables, or "grab and go" where pupils can pick up pre-prepared food on their way to class.

The charity also recommends making provision for pupils who arrive late to "top up" the main breakfast model.

It says: "One of the biggest risks of the traditional breakfast club model is that it can lead to complacency. Schools can develop a 'mission accomplished' mindset, which can be detrimental to the long term success of the provision. Schools need to continually target those most at risk of hunger for any provision to be successful."

Magic Breakfast aims to ensure no child in its partner schools is too hungry to learn - it provides healthy breakfast food and expert support to help identify and reach pupils at risk of hunger.

A primary school in Scotland qualifies for Magic Breakfast support when at least 55% of pupils live in the 40% most disadvantaged areas of the country and/or at least 35% are eligible for free school meals. A secondary qualifies for support when at least 40% of pupils live in the 40% most disadvantaged areas.

A Scottish government spokesman said no child should be going hungry at school and that the government had introduced universal free school lunches for pupils in P1 to P5 and had committed to extending this to all primary and state-funded special school pupils "during this parliament".

He added: "We are also committed to developing plans to offer free breakfasts to all primary and special school children and we will be looking at current provision and how to extend that."



Be the first to comment.