Although it was a great film, (those of us of a certain age will know what I mean,) I don’t mean that Breakfast Club.  (I think Emilio Estevez and Molly Ringwald probably warrant a whole post of their own.) 

Gratuitous Brat Pack Photo


The Breakfast Club I’m referring to is the one that looks after children before school officially starts.  Not quite the same thing.

During my degree, which I finished last year, I did my best to do as much paid work as much as my Uni workload permitted.  This meant doing office jobs I didn’t really want to do but I wanted to contribute as best as I could.

Since Mum passed six years ago, childcare has been an issue for me.  Thankfully, I haven’t had to call on anyone to help out much – but then I’m pretty stubborn and don’t really like relying on people.  I have friends who are more than happy to help but then that would mean having to ask!  Asking your Mum is different … but even then I was conscious that I didn’t want to put her in a position where she felt she couldn’t say no.

When I studied, I managed to schedule most of my classes, which were a good commute away, around my home life.  My Other Half was working away at the time and I was determined to run as tight a ship as I could.  However, when I was able to work in offices again, the issue of childcare reared its ugly head.

This is where Breakfast Clubs came in.

I’d never used one before and so I wasn’t really sure of the protocol.  Did I have to sign up for a certain amount of time?  Did I have to pay the same amount no matter what time I turned up?  Did they provide food?  Could we afford it?  The last time I’d researched the prices of an after-school club, I’d have needed to sell a kidney to afford it.

I was worried.  I didn’t want to ask my friends to have Skig first thing in the morning – if you’re anything like me, mornings are horrific with two children as it is.   As good a kid as Skig is, I couldn’t add to anyone’s misery.

If I’m honest, I didn’t want to hire a childminder again.  I’d had to do that before when my eldest was young and for numerous reasons, it’s just not for me.  That’s probably a whole other post!

I called my son’s school and asked for information about their Breakfast Club.  I thought it would be a real rigmarole of application forms, waiting lists and rules.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  (This has been known to happen on occasion.  Once.  In 1991.)

Ideally, it would have been beneficial for me if the club could have opened up just a little earlier.  As it was, the 7.50am opening time proved just about do-able.  The real bonus?  It was only £2 (including breakfast.)  I’m not sure whether that’s comparative to other schools and unfortunately, since the Government withdrew its funding it’s not free anymore – I’m sure if it was, there’d be a much bigger uptake.

They had a good selection of food on offer:  cereals, toast, toasted sandwiches, fruit, juices … even the obligatory pan full of baked beans!

The club was run by the attached junior school (he was in the Infant school at the time,) and seemed to be run by several older ladies that I presumed were part of the PTA.   They were kind to the children, a bit like surrogate nans for an hour, and I was happy for him to be there because it was a safe environment.  He was happy to be there because he could play with his friends.

I couldn’t fault the school’s Breakfast Club.  It helped me get to work early, which meant I could leave work early, which meant that I missed the rush hour, which meant I had more time to spend at home.  Win.

It’s a well-known fact that there is a direct correlation between children not eating breakfast and under-performing at school.  It’s shocking to think that 1 in 4 school kids have no breakfast or a breakfast of junk food like burgers or crisps to start the day – that’s one million children each day.

After Government funding was withdrawn, forcing schools to charge for Breakfast Clubs, Education Secretary Michael Gove stated that corporate organisations may need to ‘put their hands in their pockets’ to bridge the funding gap.  Not ideal.

But this is where Kellogg’s Cornflakes come.  They are going to be launching the ‘Help Give a Child a Breakfast’ campaign in October.  Kellogg’s Cornflakes is making a 3p donation for every pack sold to the Kellogg’s Breakfast Club Trust with the target of raising a minimum of £300,000 – which equates to one million breakfasts for children by the end of 2012.

The campaign aims to help bridge the funding gap and Kellogg’s are calling on the support of mums everywhere to spread the word.

If your child’s school hasn’t got a breakfast club, they can register to set one up by visiting www.giveachildabreakfast.co.uk – Kellogg’s will help them with training and a start up grant.

How brilliant is that?!

 

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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

2 replies on “The Breakfast Club”

  1. I caught a really good speech on this issue from Carmel McConnell, of “Magic Breakfast” at the 2011 TedxLondon Education Revolution conference. The Magic Breakfast is a charity that provides free, nutritious breakfast food (bagels, porridge, orange juice and cereals) to 6,000 children in 200 primary schools. They report that:

    1.6 million UK children live in severe poverty according to Save the Children.
    32% of schoolchildren regularly miss breakfast.

    You can have the best teachers in the best schools but all of that can be undone for those kids living in poverty.

    http://www.magicbreakfast.com

    Xlnt post!

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