15 May 2018
Windmill Primary School in Leeds runs a breakfast club for up to 130 pupils every weekday morning. We spoke with Katy Quilter the Deputy Head and Tracy Smith who runs the breakfast club, to find out why receiving food from FareShare is so important to the club and what the impact has been on the children.
“Our school is located in a high area of deprivation,” says Katy “The local deprivation index is 0.5 compared to the national average of 0.2. We have a lot of low-income families and single parent families that rely on as much support as we can give.
“We started our free school breakfast club to support the parents and release the burden of providing a full breakfast to their children before school. To enable us to offer this service for free, we receive funding from Greggs who also provide us with bread. This funding allows us to be a part of FareShare and gives us the opportunity to offer an amazing breakfast club for our pupils.”
“Before we had the breakfast club there was a lot of lateness. Lots of children live close to school but were not getting here on time. Parents now realise they can drop them off with us and don‘t have to pay for childcare, so the breakfast club motivates them to come in in good time.”
Katy Quilter, Deputy Head
Tracy Smith who runs the breakfast club says, “On a full day we can have up to 130 children attending our breakfast club, with around 20 of those being little children in reception. We cater for everyone from reception up to year six. It’s really nice to see all the children mixing together across all ages. We have around 15 year six pupils that come every morning and they help with the little ones, even leading them up the hallway to their classrooms for their first lesson after the club.”
Katy says, “The breakfast club has really helped develop the relationship between the children and the staff. Someone who might be teaching you maths in an hours’ time is here helping you have your breakfast. It’s a very relaxed, informal setting, which helps break down the barriers. We also offer other activities at the breakfast club, like dance, colouring and crafts. They see a different side to the staff and we see a different side to them.”
“There is always staff to greet the parents and children when they arrive and have a chat to see how they’re getting on. We do know that some of our families access food banks and so we make sure to tell them that their kids can come here and get their breakfast for free, so it’s one less thing to worry about.”
Katy Quilter, Deputy Head
Katy says: “We have found that thanks to the breakfast club, the children have better concentration in lessons and are happier and eager to learn. This is especially important in the run up to SATs as when children come in to school hungry they are agitated, fidgety and upset. So if they have eaten something it’s one less stress for them. We have the opportunity here to reassure and encourage them, giving them a calming start to the day. It’s a vehicle to start conversations, it’s like family time.”
Tracy adds: “We are running an additional special SATs breakfast club for all our 53 year sixes in the mornings before their exams. We are offering a separate breakfast with sausage or bacon sandwiches, cereal from Kellogg’s, toast, fruit and yoghurt and with milk, smoothies or orange juice to drink. We are getting all the food from this and for our usual breakfast club from FareShare. It’s made the club go from a basic breakfast club to an absolutely amazing breakfast club! Since using FareShare, the numbers of kids coming has gone up so much as they’re excited about what’s on offer.”
“We have found that, thanks to the breakfast club, the children have better concentration in lessons and are happier and eager to learn.”
Katy Quilter, Deputy Head
“FareShare has meant we can offer such a wide variety of good quality food to the children and get them to try foods they have never had before,” says Katy, “Parents now don’t have to worry about not being able to provide a proper meal at home. Recently a child came in who said they had just had chips for dinner. So at least we know they have had a good breakfast and a good lunch before we send them back home.
“I think FareShare has really revitalised our breakfast club. So many children really needed it but it was hard to get them excited about just toast!”
“We are getting all the food for our breakfast club from FareShare. It’s made the club go from a basic breakfast club to an absolutely amazing breakfast club! Since using FareShare, the numbers of kids coming has gone up so much as they’re excited about what’s on offer.”
Tracy Smith, High Level Teaching Assistant
Katy explains, “We had a little girl in year 1 who had severe behavioural problems and her parents really struggled to get her in to school on time. We told them about the breakfast club and they brought her. She loved the breakfast and the music and entertainment and now she asks her parents to take her in early for the club. Before she was just too angry and unsettled to eat properly at home, but once she got the gist of the breakfast club and what to do it’s really settled her down. She’s now eager and willing to come to school in the morning.”