Ensuring children’s access to food 365 days a year
Free school meals are a critical safety net. For 10% of children, school lunch can be their biggest meal of the day. But children may need more than lunch. Nationally, almost three-quarters of teachers nationally reported seeing children arriving at school hungry. School breakfast clubs can help improve concentration, behaviour and educational outcomes. Furthermore, those children in receipt of school meals who depend on school for their main meal are left at risk of food insecurity during school holidays, contributing to a ‘learning slump’ over the holiday period.
Local authorities and schools can take a number of actions, including maximising uptake of free school meals and auditing and fostering provision of breakfast clubs. Along with food poverty alliances, they can also help improve knowledge, coordination and provision of holiday programmes which include food through strategic mapping and referral systems.
- Food poverty and schools in Devon: A briefing (Devon County Council 2015)
- Increasing free school meal uptake in Havering (p.14) (Beyond the Food Bank 2017)
- How to increase free school meals uptake: A toolkit for schools (Education Leeds)
- Going hungry? Young people's experience of free schools meals (Child Poverty Action Group 2012)
- Guidance on food and poverty in schools (Food For Life 2015)
- School Food Matters: To ensure that every child enjoys fresh sustainable food at school and understands where their food comes from.
- Evaluation of breakfast clubs in schools with high levels of deprivation (Department of Education 2017)
- Research and evaluation of community and school breakfast clubs and holiday hunger schemes (Healthy Living)
- Magic Breakfast: Providing healthy school breakfasts to hungry and malnourished children in disadvantaged areas of the UK.
- Holiday Meals Guide (Good Food in Greenwich 2018)
- Wales’ School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP 2017)
- Monitoring year-round food for children in Islington (Beyond the Food Bank 2016)
- School holiday food provision: Needs assessment to tackle holiday hunger in the Royal borough of Greenwich (GCDA 2015)
- Filling the holiday gap: Guiding points for organisations providing community holiday time meals for children (APPG on School Food 2015)
- End Holiday Hunger (Children in Northern Ireland)