One in seven school children arrive without having had breakfast. Unfortunately a reasonable number of these come from difficult family backgrounds. Starting a challenging school day having possibly come from an argument at home, or worse, combined with no food is a tough start for a child – breakfast is, after all, the most important meal of the day. Without it, children are more likely to find it difficult to concentrate, fall asleep in lessons and do less well in exams. In later life, they may also be at increased risk of heart disease.
When I was involved with a regeneration partnership in Blackburn, we arranged for the local supermarket to deliver breakfast for free to a school on a troubled housing estate. I don’t know whether Nick Clegg’s free school meals will help (I wonder if his wife had a hand in that policy?) but personally I am in favour of anything which makes sure that children have breakfast, particularly the most vulnerable – it not only nourishes, but confirms that there is someone out there who cares enough to feed you.