Parents 'failing to give children breakfast'

Breakfast Four in five teachers say they have seen pupils arriving without breakfast

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Parents without the "time or inclination" to make breakfast for their children are blamed by teachers for more pupils going to school hungry.

A survey from Kellogg's found that four out of five teachers in England have seen examples of pupils starting school without having eaten any breakfast.

"Parental apathy" was identified as the biggest single cause - followed by a shortage of money.

Almost a third of teachers have brought in their own food to feed pupils.

According to the survey, about one in six primary teachers are spending £24.99 per month of their own money on food for their pupils.

Last month, teachers at a primary school in Bristol took over the funding of breakfasts for 130 pupils after a charity providing the meals went bust.

Breakfast club

Kellogg's is best known for its cereal brands - but a spokeswoman emphasised that this was not about promoting its own goods, but was a response to its own grassroots work in schools.

The firm's charitable trust has been funding school breakfast clubs, where pupils can get subsidised meals, since 1998.

At present it is supporting more than 500 breakfast clubs across England - but says it is receiving a rising number of requests from other schools worried that pressure on budgets will force the closure of their breakfast clubs.

Start Quote

Some children at our school don't have their first meal of the day until lunchtime”

End Quote Gill Harding Primrose Hill Community Primary School, Manchester

A report from Kellogg's, accompanying the survey of 500 teachers' experiences, says that without breakfast clubs many more pupils would miss out on a meal in the morning.

More than half of teachers believed that the problem of children arriving hungry at school was getting worse.

They believed that a lack of money is a major problem for some families - but a bigger problem was the failure or inability of parents to provide a breakfast for their children.

"This means that, in many families, parents are leaving children to fend for themselves in the morning. This is because some parents simply don't have the time or inclination to prepare breakfast, let alone supervise their children or encourage them to eat it," says the report.

This problem is worse among primary pupils, says the Kellogg's report, because they find it harder than secondary pupils to "fend for themselves".

The lack of food before school - or only snacking on unhealthy food - means that pupils arrive unable to concentrate and more likely to behave badly, say teachers in the survey.

Gill Harding, head teacher at Primrose Hill Community Primary School, Manchester, says in the report: "Some children at our school don't have their first meal of the day until lunchtime.

"Often this is because their parents aren't aware of what a healthy breakfast is, which is why many children - and their parents - turn up at school eating a large chocolate bar with a can of fizzy pop. In other homes, parents simply don't get up early enough to prepare it."

Karin Woodley, head of the ContinYou education charity, said: "Many families are really struggling financially and, in extreme cases, this means that there simply isn't enough food to go round. Breakfast clubs can provide a lifeline for these families so we're extremely concerned to hear that many are being forced to close."

The issue of poor diet among school children prompted a campaign by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver - and saw the introduction of strict nutritional guidelines.

But Mr Oliver has attacked the decision to allow academies not to comply with these guidelines.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said it was "worrying" to hear of any child going hungry, insisting that the government had protected the schools budget and introduced the pupil premium to support the most disadvantaged pupils.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    Why cannot parents manage to get up in the morning and do their duty? 50 years of advertising has brainwashed so many into believing that life is hard work to the point that they cannot even get out of bed let alone actually do something.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Dear fleurprice,
    You know what things your child likes best. How about he doesn't get his 'rights' until he meets his 'responsibilities' i.e. eating a proper meal. It'll take 2 or 3 arguments until he realises you are the boss & you're not joking. After that things may get a little easier. We did the same with our 3 & it did work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    Sadly, I'm not surprised.

    Two factors here:
    Both parents working = less time for home making. I'm not bashing working Mum's. Parents can't be in two places at once.
    Disfunctional families, where drink/drugs/cigarettes are more important to the parents.

    Unless we address both issues, nothing will change: Prevent benefits being spent unwisely & incentivise only one parent working, via taxation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    Where exactly is the documented evidence to support quotes like: 'Parents without the "time or inclination"'? A headteacher says 'the parents don't know what a healthy breakfast is': has she been to each home to check this fact?
    DREADFUL report from Kellogg's, making already harassed parents feel like they are doing everything wrong... and we're all so quick to jump on the bandwagon and judge...

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    How much trouble is it to send children off with a granola bar or two?
    Sadly, few working parents have time in the morning to make a hot breakfast anymore.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    Skipping breakfast is not of itself a bad thing, as long as the children are getting enough nutritious food overall, and lots of protein.

    The fact this survey was sponsored by Kellogs is not irrelevant. Breakfast cereal products which are high in sugar and fast carbs are worse for children's health than no breakfast and healthy food later.

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    "The survey has been done by Kellogs...who sell breakfasts.."

    There's nothing new in this. Just a quick google tells me that in 1989 Simeon DT & Grantham-McGregor S published a paper called "Effects of missing breakfast on the cognitive functions of school children of differing nutritional status".

    It has been well studied.

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    Badger Cull, Christmas toys, opened and closed within a couple of hours. Why? Did the answers not accord with the moderators agenda?

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    I was preparing my own breakfast before I was of school age. At least the food was in the home though. Thanks mum.

  • Comment number 207.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    Where is all this benefit bashing coming from? Rich or poor, working or not, bad parenting spans all walks of life.

  • Comment number 205.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    Shortage of money

    10 million workers earn less than a living wage. High Profits like Tesco and Sainsbury build there empires on the back of the benefits these people claim to afford to work.

    It should be illegal to pay less than a living wage once a company employs more than 10 people .

    Many work shifts and using public transport spend 3 hours per day travelling, thus have little family time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    So,surprise,a company producing high sugar stodge complains of children not eating breakfast (of the stuff).Few kids today look like they are starving,and as for breakfast as a kid I could never stand the idea.Most of my pals were equally badly parented,eat it or leave it was the attitude.As for behaviour I believe research has shown excess sugars and starches eg sugared breakfast cereals fault

  • Comment number 202.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    The survey has been done by Kellogs...who sell breakfasts...

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    // wisolme
    164 waldo
    Actually the women in this town with professional qualifications have 3+ children to avoid going back to the high pressure of the work environment for as long as possible.//

    you know that for sure, about all of them, do you? Where do live? What job do these women do? Front line soldiers? Sky divers...?

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    The statement "you can't always blame the parents" should read no one ever blames the parents, especially government. The DFE's statement was about budgets for schools. It's about time the government pointed out to parents that it's their responsibility to look after their children, help them read and write, do their homework, talk to them....etc. But that sort of message would lose votes I guess

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    197. Comber.
    "Widgeon.I supposed disabled kids shouldn't be born either?..."
    I was born disabled and wish I hadn't been born. But that is beside the point. Something needs to be done to stop more and more feral children being born. The country can't support them. I'm not just talking about benefits but all the crimes they will commit, their need for social services, and so on and son.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Widgeon. Some women don't have a choice. I supposed disabled kids shouldn't be born either? There was a term in the early 20th for that kind of thinking.


Page 2 of 12


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