A Leeds high school is making a free breakfast compulsory for all pupils, with no exceptions.
The David Young Academy in Seacroft, with its roll of 1,050 pupils, is making a healthy breakfast part of its daily curriculum, at a cost of £38,000 a year from the school budget.
Staff at the academy believe the move is worth the cost, as they are confident that the benefits are immense; from improved learning and behaviour to enhancing students’ relationships with each other, teaching staff and food in general.
“There are lots of different reasons why teenagers do not eat breakfast at home,” said school principal Ros McMullen. Lack of time is often the main reason. Preparation and planning also impacts on morning routines so we have removed the doubt and every student takes breakfast, there are no exceptions.”
Ms McMullen argues the large chunk of school funding is money well spent. “Concentration levels improve dramatically and it sets the scene for the school day,” she adds. “Eating together in a family style environment has improved relationships and behaviour and the students’ understanding of the importance of eating good food.”
Head boy Ben Rushworth said: “Hopefully more schools will follow our lead now. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and as everyone joins in, staff included. We are all on an equal footing ready for learning. School ambassadors help with the menu planning with school chef Richard Belt.”
The BBC Inside Out documentary team filmed and interviewed students during breakfast, which is served with military precision over four sittings between 8.55am and 10.30am.