School Breakfast Clubs program

This page provides an overview for school leaders, teachers and parents about the School Breakfast Clubs program, including current advice about the delivery of the program during coronavirus (COVID-19).

About the School Breakfast Clubs program

The School Breakfast Clubs program seeks to address the impact that disadvantage can have on education outcomes by offering free and healthy food for students in 1,000 Victorian government schools.

Research shows that a child's ability to concentrate in class, self-regulate and learn is negatively impacted if they are hungry. It has been reported that the rising cost of living makes it increasingly difficult particularly for low-income families and families living in poverty to provide enough healthy food for all the family each week.

Building on the success of the 2016-19 School Breakfast Clubs program, which began implementation in 500 Victorian government primary schools over 2016, the expanded program seeks to further support Victorian students and their families. The Victorian Government provided $58 million to deliver the expanded School Breakfast Clubs program in 1,000 Victorian government primary, secondary, P-12 and specialist schools in Victoria over four years from 2019-2023.

The Victorian Government has continued its partnership with Foodbank Victoria, the Victorian branch of Australia's largest food welfare agency, to deliver the program.

The program will include:

  • delivery of healthy breakfasts in 1,000 Victorian government primary, secondary, P-12, and specialist schools
  • provision of nutritious lunches and holiday food supplies targeted to students in need
  • delivery of cooking classes for families at 100 disadvantaged schools.

How schools are selected

The 500 schools that participated in the original program were invited to continue their involvement.

Eligibility for the additional 500 schools has been determined using the most recent Student Family Occupation Education (SFOE) index data. This provides an accurate measure of disadvantage and is consistent with the approach of the 2016-19 program.

Invitations to eligible schools were sent over between Term 3 2019 and Term 4 2020, and places to eligible schools were confirmed on a first in first served basis. The program is currently at capacity at 1000 schools and a wait list is in place for schools who are interested in participating. 

For more information about the School Breakfast Clubs program, and to view an interactive map of participating schools, visit the Foodbank Victoria website.

Guidance for schools to deliver the School Breakfast Clubs program during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Delivery of the School Breakfast Clubs program on-site should always follow guidance in the school operations guide (login required). 

Delivering school breakfast clubs during remote and flexible learning

It's important that the service remains available to those who rely on it, while adhering to restrictions and minimising health and safety risks for all staff, students and families.

A range of innovative ways to provide support and distribute provisions to students and families during remote and flexible learning are available, and could include:

  • packaging up supplies in small parcels for students to take home
  • packaging up supplies for collection by parent/carer(s)s from the school, following the best practice health advice as per School Operations Guide (login required) and minimising the amount of people on school ground at one time
  • providing 'grab and go' options such as fruit, fruit cups, mini milks or lunch bowls for any students who are attending school on site
  • facilitating contactless delivery of supplies to students' homes (such as leaving supplies at the gate/front door).

The following measures can be implemented to ensure the School Breakfast Clubs program is delivered safely on-site:

  • ensure that all the enhanced hygiene practices and food handling practicing are carried out in accordance with the school operational guidelines
  • make sure students wash their hands with soap and water before and after entering the School Breakfast Clubs site
  • where possible, limit supervision of the program to one or two teachers and ensure they maintain 1.5 meters distance
  • where possible, use a large space for running the program, which makes it easy for teachers and/or supervisors to maintain social distance, and students to eat in smaller groups
  • for up-to-date advice about face masks at school, refer to the School Operations Guide.

Cooking Classes

Learning about healthy nutritious food supports students to develop the skills, knowledge and habits they need for growth, learning and development and happy, healthy lives.

The Cooking Classes program aims to support families to learn new skills in cooking, food safety and meal planning, with a focus on daily consumption of the five food groups recommended for good health.

The Cooking Classes are set to return from Term 1 2021 after being put on hold in 2020 in line with health advice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cooking Classes will be delivered at 100 schools across the state by June 30 2023. Classes will take place once a week for five weeks in each participating school. All families in each of the eligible schools are invited to participate, and up to 10 families (approximately 1-3 students and 1 parent) will be selected from each participating school to take part. All classes will be delivered in a COVID-safe manner in line with current health advice.

Expressions of interest to participate in the Cooking Classes were sent to schools by Foodbank Victoria in early 2021. School participation in Terms 2 and 3 2021 has already been confirmed and Term 4 spaces are filling up fast.  Expressions of interest for participation over 2022 and 2023 will be sought towards the end of this year.

Further information

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact health.advice@education.vic.gov.au