Free breakfast on offer for academy pupils to improve health and wellbeing

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A secondary school hopes to improve the health and wellbeing of their students thanks to a new scheme which offers free breakfasts each morning.

As part of a partnership with the National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP), all students at Airedale Academy are now entitled to a free breakfast at the start of each school day.

Principal Elizabeth Fairhurst said: “I am delighted that we are able to deliver this fantastic offer to our students.

“Our research shows us that far too many of our young people start their school day on an empty stomach.

“We want to put this right and, thanks to the National School Breakfast Programme, we are able to do this.”

In a recent poll, 60 per cent of the academy’s pupils said they did not have breakfast before leaving for school.

Concerned at the effect this may be having on pupils’ health and attainment, the academy approached the NSBP, which provides breakfasts to pupils at 1,775 schools each day.

Eating breakfast before school provides pupils with energy and has been proven to improve behaviour and alertness throughout the day.

According to research by the British Nutrition Foundation, one in four secondary school children in the UK start the day without breakfast.

This means the number of children not eating breakfast at Airedale Academy is more than double the national average.

Dozens of pupils have benefitted from a free breakfast since the scheme was launched.

Served from 7.45am each morning, Airedale Academy’s new scheme sees pupils offered a varied breakfast menu, including toasted bagels and hot drinks.

Kacey, a year 9 pupil at the school, said: “Having bagels in the morning is very beneficial for the start of the day because they make your brain function better.

“Some people skip breakfast by rushing to school so this is a great way to have it.”