A breakfast initiative to boost academic performance in schools has been well received by pupils in Derby, new findings have shown.

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

In total, four schools across Derby successfully completed stage one of the pilot scheme. The overall findings showed that in all of the schools, 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 involved, Derwent Primary School, currently have 24 pupils who 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 at the school also anecdotally noted improvements in focus and attention within lessons which lasted throughout the day.

Another school which is part of the scheme is Firs Estate Primary School. Since expanding their pre-existing club, the school has seen the number of attendees rise from 8-10 to 70 pupils currently. 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, Aaron Thalman, Mike and Dana Copestake, Derby County Football Community Trust and HIS Church.

In light of this success, it is now hoped the scheme will expand and create opportunities for more schools to come on board, with students from Derby University also preparing to help out.  A ‘Bondholders Breakfast’ is set to run in September for local businesses to attend. The aim of the event is to officially launch the Breakfast Clubs and encourage further discussions about free breakfasts in schools.

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.”