North Lanarkshire schools scoop breakfast club awards

Image caption,
The club at St Brigid's has helped improve attendance and performance

A breakfast club at a primary school in North Lanarkshire has been named the best in Scotland.

St Brigid's Primary in Newmains scooped the title at the National Breakfast Club Awards.

North Lanarkshire Council was also recognised for the before-school clubs it provides across the region.

Volunteer Mary Main, who runs a club at St Bernadette's Primary in Motherwell, was also named a Breakfast Club Champion.

Breakfast clubs were started in North Lanarkshire in 2000 with the aim of raising levels of attainment, reducing non-attendance and late-coming, and improving the health of the children by giving them a positive start to the school day.

The council now provides a total of 81 clubs, focussing on areas of deprivation.

In 2008 the local authority warned that breakfast club services could suffer if it was forced to foot the bill for free school meals for all five to seven-year-olds.

Karen Somerville, head teacher at St Brigid's Primary, said: "The council is very supportive of breakfast services for vulnerable children and I was concerned by the number of children being late or absent from school.

"But since we opened the breakfast club there has been a significant change for the better and parents are grateful to know that their children are somewhere safe and warm."

At St Brigid's the club has helped improve attendance, punctuality and performance.

Council leader Jim McCabe, said: "Our breakfast clubs have been a real success story.

"Each morning under the banner of 'Hungry for Breakfast', over 2,700 breakfasts are served to pupils across North Lanarkshire.

"This ensures our pupils get a healthy start to the day from a choice of cereals, milk, fruit juice and toast."

Mrs Main, who works as a volunteer at the breakfast club at St Bernadette's Primary, was nominated for the awards, which are backed by Kellogg's, by her colleagues.

Depute head teacher, William McLean, said: "I'm sure Mrs Main would not object to me saying that she is one of the more senior members of our staff.

"But this hasn't stopped her from turning up regardless of the weather, particularly with the winter we have just had, before any of the children arrive for breakfast.

"Her role is purely voluntary but she is a person that regards what she does as a pleasure rather than a chore."

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