The Healthy Living team have been involved in the evaluation of school and community breakfast clubs for around twenty years.  Dr Jeanet Ingwersen completed a PhD which examined the foods that children consumed for breakfast and the effect on cognitive performance. Jeanet is now a Senior Lecturer at Teesside University. This study led to an interest in school breakfast clubs and in 2009, the Healthy Living Lab hosted the first School Breakfast Club Conference; funded by the ESRC.

Kellogg’s School Breakfast Clubs

More recently, supported through funding from Kellogg’s, Dr Pamela L Graham completed her PhD, which considered the potential relationship between school breakfast club attendance and children’s social relationships, behaviours and food intake.  Some of the findings from Pam’s PhD work have recently been published reporting on the advantages and disadvantages of breakfast clubs; the impacts of a free school breakfast scheme; and children’s behaviour within the breakfast club setting.

Blackpool Universal Free School Breakfast Scheme

Since 2013, all primary school children in Blackpool have been entitled to a universal free school breakfast, under a Public Health initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of young people. The programme delivers in excess of 11,000 breakfasts a day to 33 schools, offering a choice of bread items, fruits, yoghurts and milk, with the aim of alleviating hunger and improving nutrition, and contributing to reduction of health and educational health inequities. As part of her PhD, Louise Harvey-Golding evaluated the impact of Blackpool’s school breakfast programme on social, behavioural and dietary health outcomes. Findings from Louise’s PhD have been published in Frontiers in Public Health in two articles entitled: ‘Universal free school breakfast: a qualitative model for breakfast behaviors’ and ‘Universal Free School Breakfast: A Qualitative Process Evaluation According to the Perspectives of Senior Stakeholders’

Online Breakfast Club Training

Healthy Living has translated their research findings into an online breakfast club training programme which is currently being delivered to school and community breakfast club staff across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This training has been accessed by hundreds of schools from across the UK and is the only University recognised training programme on school breakfast clubs.  In 2016, the programme was independently evaluated by the University of Leeds, and rated as ‘outstanding’. This programme, alongside other initiatives resulted in Healthy Living being awarded a rating of 4* Impact Case Study (the highest rating possible) in the 2018 Research Assessment Framework. For further details please see our Breakfast Club Training Page or contact Prof Greta Defeyter (greta.defeyter@northumbria.ac.uk).