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One in Four Working Parents Would Have to Quit Work without School Breakfast Clubs

MANCHESTER, February 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Working parents forced to negotiate flexible working hours, take a pay cut or put their career on hold due to a lack of pre-school breakfast clubs.
  • Breakfast clubs can save UK working parents £26.4 million a week compared with other forms of childcare.

New research shows that one in four (29 pc) working parents with children in breakfast clubs would be forced to quit their jobs without them.[1]

Pre-school breakfast clubs have become a 'lifeline' for many British families, with almost a quarter (24 pc) of all working households using them to drop off primary school children before school so that their parents can get to work on time.

Working parents who drop their children off at school early can save up to £1,373 a year using pre-school breakfast clubs rather than alternative forms of childcare. Across the UK, this is a potential saving of £26.4 million in childcare costs each week .[2]

Worryingly, the one in 10 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 (10 pc), taking a pay cut (6 pc), or putting their career on hold (3 pc) to care for their children in the morning.

The ability to send their children to a pre-school breakfast club means that 12 pc of parents can attend university or college to study, says the new report from Kellogg's.

Pre-school clubs are a huge support now that childcare costs have increased by 77 pc over the last ten years, with some working parents paying out up to a third of their income on childcare.[3]

For parents on lower incomes,[4] 83 pc said breakfast clubs save them money and if they had access to a free breakfast club at their school, half (55 pc) would use it on a regular basis.

One in four lower earning families said their primary school children would have to be left unsupervised for some part of the morning if they couldn't use the breakfast club.

What's more, the study shows that parents who use breakfast clubs can clock up 93.6 additional hours[5] of paid work annually. And without breakfast clubs many children would be less likely to eat in the morning, with one in ten (9 pc) parents admitting they wouldn't have time to feed them before work.  

This corresponds with the findings of a study last year which showed that more than a quarter of teachers (28 pc) had seen an increase in children being sent to school without a breakfast, and that 52 pc cent of parents had less money to spend on food.[6]

Kellogg's is awarding grants to 1,000 schools in some of the most deprived areas of the country to help them set up or run their existing breakfast club. This is part of the company's pledge to donate 15 million portions of cereal and snacks to families in food poverty by the end of 2016.

Jill Rutter, Head of Policy and Research at Family and Childcare Trust, a charity which campaigns for the well-being of families in the UK, said: "Breakfast clubs are a lifeline, particularly for those parents on lower incomes that simply wouldn't be able to afford to pay out for additional childcare costs on top of their already squeezed household budgets.

"Not all working families can rely on shift parenting or informal childcare from grandparents and friends so for some, these clubs are literally the difference between working or not. These grants from Kellogg's will help to make a huge difference to thousands of working families across the UK."

Paul Wheeler, a Kellogg's director, said: "For millions of parents in Britain, having access to a breakfast club helps them do the basics - keep down a job.  But, with school budgets squeezed, it's more important than ever that breakfast clubs stay open."  

Kellogg's Breakfast Club grant applications close on 28th March 2014; schools should visit to apply.

School and parent case studies available on request

Notes to editors

[1]Research carried out by YouGov Parent Panel. Total sample size was 2000 working parents with children aged between 4- 16. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27/01/14 and 10/02/14.

[2]Figure calculated by taking the average figure saved a week (£35.20) by those who save money through breakfast clubs (c.186 of 12,073 adults surveyed) = 1.54%. Grossed to the GB population (48,788,716 - ONS), this is c.751,345 : £35.20 x  751,345 = £26, 447,344.

[3]Research by the Family and Childcare Trust

[4]Lower household income' taken as those with annual household incomes lower than £40,000. Average GB annual household income of £40,000 reference:

[5]Figure calculated by taking the average hours (2.4) saved a week by the number of school weeks in a year (39).

[6]From Hard to Swallow: The Facts about Food Poverty, a report produced by Kellogg's in 2013 in association with the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

About the research:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 12,073 adults : 5,979 working adults: 2,000 working adults with children aged 16 or under. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th January 2014 - 10th February 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB parents with children aged 16 or under.

YouGov is an international, full service online market research agency offering custom research, omnibus, field and tab services, qualitative research, syndicated products and market intelligence reports.

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