East Renfrewshire pupils benefit from free breakfast

Free breakfast is available for pupils at 10 East Renfrewshire schools as part of the roll-out of a successful pilot scheme.

The breakfast carts were introduced for the start of the new term

Breakfast carts were initially introduced in St John’s Primary, Carlibar Primary and Barrhead High, giving pupils the opportunity to help themselves to toast, cereal and fruit before the start of the school day, or at the very start of it.

Research by The Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit of Glasgow Caledonian University showed that the project, which ran for six months in 2019 and 2020, delivered real benefits for the pupils’ learning and wellbeing.

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Through additional funding East Renfrewshire Council has received to support the humanitarian impact of Covid-19, the grab-n-go breakfast carts were introduced to 10 schools at the start of the new term.

The schools which will introduce the breakfast carts are Barrhead and St Luke’s high schools, Carlibar Primary, Cross Arthurlie Primary, Hillview Primary, Neilston Primary, St John’s Primary, St Mark’s Primary, St Thomas’s Primary and Thornliebank Primary.

The Scottish Government plans to introduce free breakfast for all from August 2022, but this funding will allow East Renfrewshire pupils in Barrhead, Neilston and Thornliebank schools to benefit immediately.

Councillor Alan Lafferty, convener for Education and Equalities, said: “The pilot project we ran highlighted that pupils who had missed breakfast had lower energy levels, less concentration and were not as engaged in their learning as those who had eaten.

"Teachers also noticed that those who had not had breakfast often had poorer behaviour. By targeting these breakfast carts in schools which will most benefit from them, it will help us to improve the wellbeing of pupils.”