Last Updated: Friday, January 06, 2023

Using food as a context for raising attainment and closing the gap

What is this?

Find out about the impact of breakfast club attendance on both children’s cognitive performance and their friendships.

Who is this for?

​Teachers, middle and system leaders looking to work with all stakeholders in food education and provision to address inequities.

​​In this video resource, Professor Greta Defeyter from Northumbria University shares her up-to-date research in relation to the impact of breakfast club attendance on both children’s cognitive performance and their friendships, and the impact of food intervention programmes across the summer holidays.

Explore this resource

Professor Greta Defeyter shared the results of the research at the Scottish Learning Festival 2017.

How was the request carried out?

The research utilised a mixed-research methodology including surveys, questionnaires, focus groups and semi-structured interviews. The research was carried out across the whole of the UK, ranging from the south coast of England to Glasgow.

What are the strengths of the research methodology?

The main strength of the research programme was the adoption of a realist methodology alongside the inclusion of robust, quantitative research tools. It is representative of a good age range of children attending schools in areas of low social mobility and areas of deprivation.

What is the context for this research?

The research was conducted in primary schools across the UK.

Improvement questions

The research could be improved in terms of examining the wider educational, social and cultural benefits of the intervention programmes. For example, a process of evaluation regarding the benefits and advantages of implementation and the wider engagement of policy makers both at a local and national level.

The sharing of easy to use research and evaluation tools to monitor process throughout the intervention would help in ensuring effective implementation. The sharing of research demonstrating both soft and hard outcomes will enable teachers and policy makers to ensure that the programme is continually monitored and that it is fit for purpose.

About the author

Professor Greta Defeyter is Faculty Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor at Northumbria University.


This research was not commissioned by Education Scotland and the findings, recommendations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Education Scotland.