breakfast clubs

The Department for Education will spend £24 million extending its breakfast clubs programme for a further two years.

The government initially launched the programme in 2018 with £26 million in funding. A further £11.8 million was allocated in 2020 to extend the scheme to this year.

Now the DfE has confirmed it is looking for a provider to run the scheme in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years.

The breakfast clubs programme is currently run by Family Action and Magic Breakfast.

Ministers said at the scheme’s launch that they wanted to reach more than 1,770 schools in the most disadvantaged areas of the country by 2020.

The DfE said today that the programme has so far supported “up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas”. However, it has not said how many of these involved establishing new clubs.

Last year, Schools Week revealed that just one in six of the breakfast clubs supported by the scheme were actually new, prompting accusations that ministers had published “misleading” figures.

The DfE has also not said how many schools it intends to reach in the next two years of the scheme.

Gavin Williamson said today that the extension of the programme was to ensure children in need of extra support “do not go without the most important meal of the day”.

“Throughout this pandemic our priority has been supporting the most vulnerable children,” he said.

“That’s why we extended support for free school meals support for eligible pupils when they were learning from home, expanded our holiday activities and food programme to run all over the country this year and introduced the Covid winter grant scheme to keep families warm and well-fed, all of which ensures targeted support is there for the children who need it most.”

Tender documents published by the DfE state that the chosen supplier will be responsible for “recruiting schools to participate in the programme from an agreed target list provided”,  and providing breakfast provision to schools “that adhere to the government’s school food standards”.

They will also have to design, implement and manage an “appropriate and accessible user interface channels to enable schools to order the breakfast provision”.

Organisations have until April 16 to bid.