two redheaded twins eat breakfast in a school hall - one holds up a slice of toast like a smile

Breakfast with a difference at Waterville Primary

2 months ago
5 min read

At Waterville Primary School in North Shields, Breakfast Club is an essential part of the school morning routine which, according to headteacher Mark Nugent, “hugely contributes to school life”.

A Greggs Foundation Breakfast Club has been held at Waterville Primary for over seven years thanks to support from The Greggs Foundation, and has been funded by local partners Wingrove Motor Company and The Social Co since 2019. Breakfast starts at 8.15am and runs until 8.55am and has become an important start to the school community for 110 pupils every day.

Headteacher Mark Nugent, comments: “Breakfast club at our school plays a major role in the overall school day. Over half of the pupils in our school attend breakfast club so it makes a difference to not only how children are able to ease into school, but also how they are able to respond to lessons and teaching in a more positive way.”

Mark is keen to emphasise the multiple advantages that breakfast club brings to the educational environment. "Our Breakfast Club plays a crucial role in creating a positive school culture" he states. "It's more than just a meal; it's a platform to encourage improved attendance, punctuality, better concentration, and invaluable support for our working parents."

By providing a free, nutritious meal at the start of the day, students are more likely to attend school regularly and arrive on time. Mark notes, "When pupils are attending Breakfast Clubs, we observe they are much more eager to come to school, knowing they'll have a breakfast waiting for them.”

a group of female pupils dance together in a school hall laughing
two boys enjoy breakfast together in the school hall

A well-balanced breakfast fuels bodies and minds, but breakfast club is not only about food. Mark adds, "We have a seasonal menu that we hope reflects pupil's tastes, but we also make sure that breakfast club is a place to learn, play, socialise and try new things. Students who have had a healthy meal and a chance to engage with their peers are more alert, responsive, and ready to learn, which ultimately reflects in their academic achievements.  We have toys, games and activities available for pupils to enjoy but we also set aside 15 minutes at the end of each session to stream music onto the big screen in our hall for dancing and singing.  It really helps our children shake out their energy before sitting down, ready to learn, at 9am.”

Breakfast Clubs are also a crucial support for working parents. By offering a reliable pre-school club with a free breakfast, parents can ensure their children start the day nourished and prepared for school, easing the morning rush and balancing work commitments. "We understand the challenges faced by modern families who can’t necessarily structure their working patterns around school hours," says Nugent. "Our Breakfast Club provides peace of mind to parents, knowing their children are well-cared for before classes begin."

“We also have time with the children to deal with any issues that may have arisen overnight or that morning.  We are lucky to have fostered a real family-feel at our school, but we are also located in one of the most deprived areas of the UK. Many families in our school community experience high levels of deprivation and our school is very much that safe haven where we try to help and support in any way we can.   We all pull together and part of that support is ensuring that if a child has had a difficult morning, evening or weekend, we can help to identify what assistance is needed during that morning session.”

Young girl with glasses and long blonde hair smiles at the camera as she enjoys a breakfast at school
two boys in dark blue uniforms play with games at breakfast club

Waterville Primary School Breakfast Club is supported by partners, Wingrove Motor Company and digital marketing agency, The Social Co.  Through their generous funding, Waterville Primary School can continue to offer this vital morning service to their students without financial burden. "We are immensely grateful to the Greggs Foundation, Wingrove Motor Company and The Social Co. for their ongoing support," Nugent expresses. "Their commitment to supporting communities aligns perfectly with our mission of nurturing children’s well-being and academic success."

From enhancing attendance and punctuality to improving concentration and easing the burden on working parents, successful Breakfast Clubs like Waterville Primary highlight the many benefits that can come from the collaborative efforts of educators and community partners to support children at Waterville Primary School.