Eating breakfast makes a difference to GCSE performance

Students who rarely ate breakfast on school days achieved lower GCSE grades than those who ate breakfast frequently, according to research published November 2019 in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

The new study from the University of Leeds, have for the first time demonstrated a link between eating breakfast and GCSE performance for secondary school students in the UK.

Adding together student’s exam results, they found that students who said they rarely ate breakfast achieved nearly two grades lower than those who rarely missed their morning meal.

Lead researcher Dr Katie Adolphus, from the University of Leeds’ School of Psychology, said:

“Our study suggests that secondary school students are at a disadvantage if they are not getting a morning meal to fuel their brains for the start of the school day.

The UK has a growing problem of food poverty, with an estimated half a million children arriving at school each day too hungry to learn. Previously we have shown that eating breakfast has a positive impact on children’s cognition.

This research suggests that poor nutrition is associated with worse results at school.”

As the Government runs a national, means-tested free school lunch programme accessible to all students Waltham Forest Catering provides free lunches, but there is no equivalent for breakfast.  Alongside school leaders this is an area of concern for us and we are keen to highlight any new research. We are committed to the consistent provision of great tasting, healthy food and forward-thinking menus.

We've continually improved and developed the catering service in line with healthy eating guidance food trends and other legislative changes. 

We’re not the only ones. Nicola Dolton, Programme Manager for the National School Breakfast Programme, from Family Action, said:

“The National School Breakfast Programme is delighted to see the publication of this thorough and compelling research, highlighting the impact that breakfast consumption has on a child’s GCSE attainment.

This report provides impressive evidence that eating a healthy breakfast improves a child’s educational attainment, which supports our own findings of improvements in a child’s concentration in class, readiness to learn, behaviour and punctuality.”

Apply for Magic Breakfast Provision for your school. 

To find out more on the school offer, visit the The Waltham Forest Catering website.