School breakfast club scheme feeding 15,000 children each day and growing
Thousands of disadvantaged children are tucking into healthy breakfasts at school every day under a government-funded scheme being adopted across the country.
The National School Breakfast Programme was introduced in March and since then 500 schools have signed up, with more than 150 already up and running, new figures show.
Every weekday about 15,000 nutritious breakfasts are being served in school halls and canteens to children, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the numbers, published on Friday, show the positive impact of the breakfast club.
"We want every child to have the best possible start in life, and that means getting the best possible start to their day," he said in a statement.
Jointly run by charities Magic Breakfast and Family Action, the programme aims to bridge the gap between students from rich and poor areas by unlocking learning power.
The breakfast offering includes cereals, fruit, toast, porridge and bagels but the menu can vary from school to school, a Department of Education spokesman said.
"Schools tell us that the most important lessons are taught in the morning," Magic Breakfast founder Carmel McConnell said.
"So we are delighted that so many more children who may not have access to food at home can now eat a healthy breakfast at school to give them the energy and focus they need to be able to learn."
Schools are being encouraged by the Government to express interest and sign up.
The £26 million scheme, funded by the soft drinks industry levy, aims to deliver breakfasts to 1,770 schools in England by 2020.