Students’ breakfast consumption linked to GCSE grades

Breakfast.

Students who eat breakfast frequently achieve higher grades than those who don’t, research has found. 

The University of Leeds conducted a study into GCSE performance in Yorkshire and found those who rarely eat breakfast scored lower on their GCSEs than those who had breakfast often. 

Hafiza Akubat, the HR Finance Officer for Preston Muslim Girls High School, runs the school’s breakfast club. 

She said: “It’s definitely the best way forward, especially for those from deprived backgrounds.” 

The club runs from Monday to Friday and 50 to 60 pupils attend every day. 

Ms Akubat added: “It’s good for families who struggle to provide breakfast for their children and so we can help them.” 

She explained the school has teaching assistants help out with homework during this time as well as provide breakfast for the children. 

A previous study examined 294 students from schools in Yorkshire in 2011.

Using the Department for Education’s 2012 system, GCSE grades were converted to point scores, where A* = 58, A = 52, B = 46, and so on. 

Adding up students’ scores across all subjects gave students an aggregated score. 

Those who rarely ate breakfast scored on average 10.25 points lower than those who frequently ate breakfast, a difference of nearly two grades, after accounting for other important factors including socio-economic status, ethnicity, age, sex and BMI. 

Looking at performance for each individual GCSE, they found that students who rarely ate breakfast scored on average 1.20 points lower than those who frequently ate breakfast, after accounting for other factors. 

Each grade equates to six points, so the difference accounted for a drop of a fifth of a grade for every GCSE an individual achieved. 

Karen Reese, a parent from Lancashire, explained she didn’t realise breakfast consumption would affect her children’s grades. 

She said: “I hadn’t any idea, I always ensured my two boys had breakfast before leaving the house but you can never be too sure. 

“I think it’s an amazing idea to ensure children are eating before they learn. It gives them a good environment with the teachers too.” 

“All in all, I’d say more schools should have them.” Ms Reese said.