DfE extends breakfast clubs pilot over summer - but there's no extra money

The government’s national school breakfast programme is to be extended over the summer, but there’s no extra funding available.

The Department for Education announced today that the 1,800 schools taking part in the programme will be helped to continue offering breakfasts over the summer break.

Charities Family Action and Magic Breakfast, which co-ordinate the national programme, will assist schools to offer the breakfasts.

But the extension has to be delivered using existing funds for the programme, with no additional money coming from the Department.

Vicky Ford, the children’s minister, said the extension ” will mean thousands of children continue getting a positive start to their day”.

The breakfast clubs programme was launched in March 2018, with £26 million in funding for almost 1,800 clubs.

The scheme represented a climbdown on the Conservatives’ 2017 election pledge to give all primary school pupils free breakfasts, which was criticised at the time after Schools Week calculated that just 7p per meal had been allocated.

The DfE initially refused to say how many new clubs it had created, but Schools Week revealed earlier this year that just 286 of the 1,800 clubs running under the scheme were actually new.

Ministers announced in January that the programme was to be extended to 2021, with an additional £11.8 million in funding.