Ten years of free breakfasts set Welsh learners off on the right start

Education Minister, Huw Lewis joined school children in Merthyr to celebrate ten years of free breakfasts in Welsh primary schools.

The Minister visited the breakfast club of Ynysowen Community Primary which itself has been running for ten years.

While Ynysowen Community Primary was one of the first schools in Merthyr and indeed Wales to join the Free Breakfast scheme, every single maintained Primary school in the local authority is now signed up.

This makes Merthyr the first local authority in Wales to offer all its primary school aged learners the opportunity to enjoy a free and healthy breakfast on school premises.

Education Minister, Huw Lewis said:

“Breakfast has long been regarded as one of the most important meals of the day, with a healthy breakfast being linked to better behaviour, better concentration, and better all round health.

“Take up of our Free Breakfasts has consistently been on the increase since we launched the scheme back in 2004,  and we know that in the last five years alone, around 10 million free and healthy breakfasts have been served to our primary school learners.

“Indeed the most recent figures show that 82.6% of eligible maintained primary schools now offer the provision which equates to over a thousand Welsh schools.

“This means that as a result of this Welsh Government initiative, tens of thousands of children, regardless of their background are enjoying the very best start to the day.

“The ten year mark is a real milestone and I am very pleased to be celebrating it here at Ynysowen, particularly as it was one of the first primary schools in Wales to join our Free Breakfast scheme.”

Simone Roden, Headteacher of Ynysowen Primary School said:

“School breakfast club is much more than toast and cereal. It has a number of benefits not only for our children but also for our parents.  Benefits to children include improved attendance, higher levels of concentration in class and improved social skills.

“For parents, it gives them peace of mind that their children are starting the day with a good breakfast inside them, and that it is provided in a safe and familiar environment where their children feel happy amongst friends.”

The Welsh Government provides funding for all maintained primary schools to offer the free breakfast service. It is keen to further increase school participation in the scheme so that all primary school pupils in Wales have the opportunity to receive a free breakfast.