School's breakfast club now caters for 80 pupils a day
An Ipswich primary school's breakfast club has grown from feeding just eight children when it launched five years ago - to 80 today.
Hillside Primary School originally launched the scheme in 2014 for a small group of targeted pupils whose attendance was poor, but as it was such a success it was offered to all pupils for a small charge the following year.
However, after a review in 2017 revealed disadvantaged pupils were being under-represented, it was extended.
The youngsters come in for 7.45am and are given a bagel or a bowl of cereal – they can then chat with their friends, play board games or go out and join the Daily Mile, leaving them refreshed and ready to learn once the school bell rings.
Kelly Leitch, who leads the breakfast club, said it makes a huge difference in the behaviour and concentration of her pupils.
“We have a great set of adults who help run the group,” she said.
“We talk to the children to see how they are, play games with them, how to play and problem solving. It makes children ready for learning.
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“I am also a learning support worker and you can tell the ones who have had a good start.
“They are more awake, ready and concentrating.
“Teachers will also identify groups of children who need extra learning and will inform the support staff whether we could do the intervention in breakfast club.
“We have hit 99 children at the breakfast club before but the average is around 80. I think it is great for the school children.”
The breakfast club is funded through the school's pupil premium and a slice of Councillor Jack Abbott's locality budget.
Headteacher Lee Abbott said with such a multi-cultural school, where many children speak English as a second language, it helps them learn as well as giving pupils a taste of their culture.
He said: “First of all the children are more ready for the start of the school day, and more learning-ready really when they come to breakfast club.
“The second thing is they are actually in school because one of the reasons we extended the school day to have breakfast club is to make it convenient for parents to be able to leave their children at the start of the school day – so they can go off to work.
“That means the pupils' attendance and punctuality is improved.”