Case study: Kellogg’s: Our Teens are hungry in the classroom

Mother-of-three Angel-Clare Grant, 35, struggles to get 13-year-old daughter Leah up for breakfast in the mornings and is frustrated by the lack of access to a healthy breakfast in school.

Angel lives with husband Alastair Grant, 37, and her children Leah, Emily, eight and Oliver, 18 months. The family live in Weybridge, Surrey.

Angel, who runs a play group, described how breakfast was a lost priority for daughter Leah.

She said: “One of my biggest issues in the mornings is getting our daughter Leah to eat breakfast. Throughout primary school this wasn’t a problem she would have it before school or at breakfast clubs. But with the earlier start for secondary school I struggle to get her to prioritise breakfast in the mornings.

“In primary school, breakfast club can be used as childcare for working parents. As they go to secondary they are getting themselves to school, by bus or walking, so the routine of breakfast slips.

“I will often hand her a cereal bar as she’s rushing out the door. But then she’ll be too embarrassed to eat something walking to school in front of her friends. I then worry she will fill up on the wrong foods.

“The education system needs to do more to work with parents to reinforce the importance of breakfast for teens. Children make a huge life changing step up to ‘big school’ when they start at secondary level, and they are expected to adopt the attitude of an older student.

“Between 11 and 14 they can’t be expected to have the same maturity as the older kids and therefore key messages- such as the importance of breakfast needs to be reiterated. It needs to be cooler among their peers as I’m sure many parents feel they are fighting a losing battle at home.

“I do my best, I am aware of what Leah is and isn’t eating and as she grows up I want her to make choices for herself but she needs some of those options to come from the school environment.

Speaking about the Kellogg’s findings she said: “To think Leah could be losing nearly an hours’ worth of learning every time she misses breakfast is frightening. The research is really interesting, while it highlights those kids in need, it also highlights a very real problem in that our teens aren’t learning how important breakfast is to allow them to grow, develop and learn. What they learn at secondary school level can be life shaping, we need to make sure our kids have the fuel to succeed and thrive.