A scheme to offer funded breakfast’s through local business to children across Derby is to be expanded to give more schools in the city an opportunity to take part after the success of a pilot run last year.

The ‘Breakfast of Champions’ pilot, also known as the ‘Free Schools’ Breakfast Club Scheme’, was rolled out at four selected schools in Derby last year in an attempt to improve children’s behaviour, attendance and overall educational attainment, recognising the importance of breakfast in order to start the day effectively.

The overall findings showed that the clubs were well received and attended by a growing number of pupils. Findings also showed that attending breakfast clubs generally boosted morale before the school day started.

One school, Derwent Primary School, had 24 pupils attend the club on a daily basis. They reported an overall improvement in attendance amongst those pupils and a reduction in late marks since the implementation of the breakfast club. Staff also anecdotally noted improvements in focus and attention within lessons which lasted throughout the day.

Another school, Firs Estate Primary School expanded their pre-existing club, with the number of attendees rising from 8-10 to 70 pupils. The school noted that the club is open to anyone to attend but children with poor attendance were actively encouraged to participate. Other schools involved in the project were St John Fisher Primary School and The Bemrose School.

The scheme is a collaborative project between Derby City Council, leading City entrepreneur Kavita Oberoi OBE , Aaron Thalman, Mike and Dana Copestake, Derby County Football Community Trust and HIS Church. Also, this year Derby College have named the Breakfast Club as their charity of the year and are setting 4000 students the task of raising £15 each whilst Unite have kindly donated £3000 to support the roll out.

A  Marketing Derby ‘Bondholders Breakfast’ is being run by Kavita Oberoi to communicate success to date and encourage other business to get involved.  Local businesses will be introduced to the scheme and invited to think about ways in which they can participate, either by providing staff time to help volunteer to run the clubs at individual schools or through fundraising.

Councillor Sarah Russell said “I’m delighted that this scheme is to be expanded. The schools who participated in the pilot have shown that it can be a great way to support children, to improve attendance and attention through the day. We want to encourage all schools in the city to take part”

Julie Housden, Headteacher of Derwent Primary School, commented “Children who have attended the breakfast club come into school ready to learn and on time. This has impacted on their learning and progress in a positive way as they aren’t hungry and missing out on their education. They are making the progress that they are capable of, eating a healthy breakfast with friends and coming into school in a positive frame of mind. We have seen a big difference in the children who attend.”

Kavita Oberoi OBE, Managing Director of Oberoi Consulting, commented “It’s fantastic to see how well received the breakfast initiative has been across the schools involved so far. Ensuring a child has breakfast in the morning is a simple task which could greatly improve their ability to learn. It’s clear to see the impact it’s having with many more pupils choosing to attend breakfast clubs. We hope to expand this further and get both schools and businesses involved so everyone can do their part to help out.”

Mike Copestake of Freeths Solicitors, added “We can think of few things worse than feeling hungry whilst trying to get to grips with Mathematics! Any contribution we as members of the Business Community can make towards encouraging education and training for our youngsters, has got to be a worthwhile investment in all of our futures.”