Magic Breakfast launch to feed 3,800 primary schoolchildren gets cash from Amazon

PUBLISHED: 13:57 08 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:21 15 December 2016

'Magic' breakfast time for children at Bethnal Green

'Magic' breakfast time for children at Bethnal Green

Magic Breakfast charity

Primary schoolchildren are to get free breakfasts before they start lessons each day at 57 more schools around Britain in a campaign launched today in London’s deprived East End.

Children opening gifts from Amazon at the breakfast launchChildren opening gifts from Amazon at the breakfast launch

The Magic Breakfast charity opened its national campaign at St John’s School in Bethnal Green, an area with some of the country’s highest concentrations of families in poverty.

The campaign aims to provide 700,000 healthy breakfasts over the current school year to 3,800 children in Britain so they can concentrate in class and do better in their work.

“A hungry child can’t concentrate in class,” the charity’s founder Carmel McConnell said. “The most important lessons are taught in the morning—so it makes sense if we want to improve attainment and social mobility for a national school breakfast programme.

“We aim to reach the half a million children who turn up to school too hungry or malnourished to learn.”

A taste of magic breakfast for one child at St John's Primary in Bethnal GreenA taste of magic breakfast for one child at St John's Primary in Bethnal Green

The move funded by Amazon follows release of a year-long research by the Education Endowment Foundation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies which found that school breakfast clubs offering free, nutritious meals at the start of the day improve children’s reading, writing and maths equal to two months’ progress a year.

St John’s Headteacher Sharon Taylor-Sezgin, whose school has been giving breakfast for four years, said: “This has a big impact, with pupils enjoying time each morning to socialise and read before starting lessons—it settles them, ready to learn.”

The campaign is getting cash from Amazon to make sure children in disadvantaged areas like the East End get a nutritious meal before school starts, which includes bagels, cereals, juice and porridge.

The company’s UK boss Doug Gurr insists: “We shouldn’t allow hunger to be a barrier to a good education—every child regardless of background should get an equal chance to excel at school.”

Magic Breakfast founder Carmel McConnellMagic Breakfast founder Carmel McConnell

Volunteers from Magic Breakfast are working with the schools to target the most vulnerable children and get teachers and parents to understand more about nutrition. The organisation already provides breakfast to 31,000 children in 467 schools across the UK.

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