Breaking Down Barriers: National School Breakfast Programme

8 May 2023

The National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP) is an initiative funded by the Department for Education and delivered by Family Action. The scheme helps schools to offer a free healthy breakfast by offering financial support, help, and advice for up to 3 years. All participating schools will receive a 75% subsidy for breakfast club provision until the end of the current programme in July 2024, meaning schools pay just 25% of the cost of food and delivery. The programme also offers valuable networking and practice-sharing opportunities with a national network of other schools and even helps schools to engage parents on topics of healthy eating.

Who and what is included?

The NSBP is available to schools that have 40% or more children in Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) bands A-F. The only exclusion is that schools that already receive support for their breakfast programmes from Magic Breakfast or Greggs will not qualify.

The government website explains that all the food offered through the programme meets the school food standards, and schools will be able to choose and order the food they want themselves. Products available include healthy cereals, porridge, and nutritious bagels.

Impact of the National School Breakfast Programme

The programme is having a significant positive impact in schools around the country, with students feeling better prepared for their day and parents satisfied that a healthy meal is being provided. Family Action spoke to Daniel Andrews, Headteacher of Greenfields Community Primary School in Maidstone, which has 383 pupils and joined the NSBP in October 2021. He said: “Having the bagels in the morning at Greenfields has been a huge success. We have linked this with reading to have ‘bagel and a book’ sessions which the children have really enjoyed. The parents have given positive feedback and think the initiative is an excellent idea. ‘Bagel and a book’ is here to stay!”

Quote extracted from the blogBemrose School in Derby has introduced board games, colouring, and other activities as well as support with homework and revision to their breakfast provision. Grace Elliott, a teaching assistant at the school, said “We often wish we could extend the hours of the breakfast club as it’s lovely to see all the students interacting with each other and forming new relationships. We have seen independence skills develop and smiling faces…it has had such a positive impact.”

The Education Endowment Foundation conducted an evaluation of the programme in its initial scale-up, from August 2018 until March 2020. It found that a significant benefit of the NSBP is its flexible approach to breakfast provision: under the scheme, schools can choose between a traditional sit-down breakfast club, a healthy ‘grab and go’ breakfast in the playground, or a ‘soft start’ whereby classrooms opened early for breakfast. This approach helped schools to reach more pupils, as they could choose the provision which worked best for the families in their community, and ultimately reduced costs too.

How to implement the National School Breakfast Programme at your school

Joining the scheme

The NSBP has understandably proved immensely popular, so at the time of writing, processing new applications has been paused. However, the National School Breakfast Programme expression of interest form remains open, and spaces will be allocated as they become available. Your eligibility will be checked from your form and you will have an enrolment meeting, then once approved your school will be ready to offer subsidised breakfast!

Promoting the scheme to students and parents

Raising awareness in your school community of your free breakfast offer, and making it easy for students and parents to take part, are key components of maximising uptake. Utilise all of your usual marketing channels to get the word out: posters around school, featuring it prominently on your school’s website and promoting it across social media will boost reach and encourage parents and students to take part.

quote extracted from the blogSchoolcomms tools are ideally suited to help you shout about your free breakfast provision. You can use Schoolcomms to send in-app messages directly to parents letting them know about the programme, so you don’t have to rely on parents noticing your updated display boards or actually getting the letters you send home!

You can use the intuitive Schoolcomms Clubs feature to create your breakfast club, or an additional breakfast club if you already have one. By doing this, the club will appear in the Schoolcomms Clubs interface of every user who you decide should see it, increasing visibility and ultimately boosting uptake. Through Clubs, you can let parents sign their child up for your breakfast provision, either on an ad-hoc basis or for a whole term.

Schoolcomms Clubs also lets you track how many attendees have signed up, so you can accurately order breakfast food and avoid waste or not having enough. Powerful, user-friendly reporting lets you take registers to cut down on admin time and ensure peace of mind from a safeguarding perspective, as well as analysing trends to help you improve your club going forward.

To find out more about how Schoolcomms can help you to optimise your breakfast offering under the National School Breakfast Programme, book a demo with our experts.

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