New research that shows a direct link between youngsters eating healthy breakfasts and doing well in class has been welcomed by the Blackpool’s schools boss.
A Cardiff University study of 5,000 pupils in Welsh primary schools and found those who ate breakfasts of cereal, milk, and fruit were up to twice as likely to score above average on tests at the age of 11 than those who didn’t eat.
This has implications for education policy
Coun John Jones said the study justifies the decision to save Blackpool’s free breakfasts scheme from the brunt of last week’s cuts, which will see 250 council staff laid off.
Although town hall chiefs aim to save £500,000 from the scheme, which has fed 12,000 pupils in the resort’s 33 primary schools since 2013, they insist it will only affect how the food is bought and how staff hand it out, and not the children.
Coun Jones said: “This research really flies in the face of Tory opposition leader Tony Williams’ insistence that free breakfasts should be stopped and that they add no value to the pupils of Blackpool.
“This is further proof of the Tory arrogance and how out-of-touch with the real problems of Blackpool they are.”
Coun Williams has called for the school breakfast scheme – whose £1.3m budget will be slashed to around £800,000 – to be scrapped altogether.
He said: “We have been spending £1.5m per year on a free breakfast scheme which has delivered none of the benefits Coun Blackpool said it would. That’s a total of over £4.5m. A lot of jobs could have been saved with that amount of money, but Coun Blackburn won’t scrap it because it was his idea.
“He may reduce it somewhat but if he can’t deliver a full service he shouldn’t deliver it at all. He should admit he was wrong and scrap it completely.”
Hannah Littlecott, the study’s lead author, said: “This study offers the strongest evidence yet of links between aspects of what pupils eat and how well they do at school, which has significant implications for education and public health policy.”