SCHOOL breakfast clubs are helping Wearide families put food on the table, claims a report out today.
The survey shows more than one-in-four parents would have to quit working without an early morning school breakfast club.
It said parents who don’t have access to a breakfast club have had to go to dramatic lengths to balance their job and childcare needs, including negotiating flexible working hours, taking a pay cut or putting their career on hold.
The report, by Kellogg’s, said working parents who drop their children off at school early can save up to £1,373 a year using pre-school breakfast clubs instead of alternative childcare.
Pauline Wood, headteacher at Sunderland’s Grange Park Primary School, said: “The cost of childcare can be a big barrier to parents, and the lower paid the job, the less likely it is that they will feel it is worth it. But, it’s vital that they are given the opportunity to work and set a good example for their children.”
For a number of Grange Park’s parents, the breakfast club is a fundamental part of their working life.
Claire Smurthwaite, 31, whose children, Katie McHugh, nine, and Kevin Nichol, seven, both attend Grange Park Primary’s breakfast club, said it has allowed her to increase her hours as a supervisor in Monkwearmouth Academy.
She said: “I couldn’t do my job if it wasn’t for breakfast club.”
Claire said when she was initially asked if she wanted to work more hours she had to say no because there was no-one to look after her children before school, but then she tried the breakfast club.
She said: “Katie and Kevin came home from school raving about breakfast club and how much they’d enjoyed it. From then on, they became regular attendees, meaning that I could take on those extra hours in work, safe in the knowledge that I would be able to get there on time.”
Kellogg’s is awarding grants to 1,000 schools in the most deprived areas to assist with breakfast clubs. For more imformation on how to apply for a grant visit www.giveachildabreakfast.co.uk.