INews Visit MRA
Children from 50 nations gather each morning for a Magic Breakfast at their school in Salford, where food gives them the best possible start to the day and helps to break down barriers.
Around 120 pupils who attend the daily breakfast club at Marlborough Road Academy in an area with a number of asylum-seeking and refugee families, speak 47 languages.
Teachers says the scheme has given them a place where they can make friends and talk about the challenges they are facing in the outside world.
The academy is one of 467 primary, secondary and special needs schools supported by the Magic Breakfast charity, which is being backed this Christmas by an i campaign to raise £100,000 to provide an extra 500,000 breakfasts for children.
‘I can talk to my teachers about football before school starts’
“I come in early for my breakfast,” said Sulaiman Kinteh, 10. “It’s a good way of making sure I’m here on time. I usually have a bagel first and then something else.
”I like the games we play and all my friends are here, but it’s good as well because I can talk to my teachers about football before school starts.“
Zaineb Sabati, who is also 10, said: ”My attendance record is really good now thanks to the breakfast club. I usually have some cereal. I can talk to all my friends here and to the teachers. It’s great.“
The food at the daily breakfast club is free and is part of huge and successful effort by the academy to create a welcoming environment for pupils.
Every pupil who arrives at class each morning is greeted with a handshake – and twice-daily ”together time“ sessions are held so they can discuss topics including world events and personal issues.
Even those not attending the breakfast club are asked when they arrive if they have had breakfast – and offered a free bagel to start their day.
The school, which has a number of families who use food banks, also helps with provide additional food to those in need.
‘Families support each other over breakfast’
Judith Richens, the principal of Marlborough Road Academy, said: ”Everyone is welcome to the breakfast club – we have whole families coming along. For them to know that their children are getting a good breakfast is really important.
“We’re finding that families at breakfast club support each other and help one another to overcome language barriers. It’s a good way for them to connect with other families.
”We have 47 languages in the school and no dominant language. The pupils have a huge range of backgrounds and experience and we work really hard to encourage them.
“If you haven’t slept or had breakfast in the morning and have worries on your mind, you can’t focus on learning, so we’re absolutely focused on anything we can do to support them. Food is really important.”
She added: “We want them to feel that they belong and that each and every one of them is important to us. There are lot of challenges in the world and this is a haven for them.”
Sue Griggs from Magic Breakfast said: “The thing I love about this school is that the parents come for breakfast as well as younger brothers and sisters. Magic Breakfast has quickly become part of the school day.”