22nd June 2001 at 01:00
(Photograph) - A day in the life of Dinnington comprehensive, Rotherham

Getting pupils off to a flying start every day, Dinnington has just won a pound;1,000 prize in the 2001 Breakfast Club Awards scheme, sponsored by Kellogg's in association with Education Extra.

The club, up and running since last September, fills pupils' stomachs, and provides benefits that feed through into school life. Punctuality and attendance have improved dramatically since the club started, allowing the school to spend more time on literacy and numeracy, and, says headteacher Jean Nicholson: "There is a more positive start to the day, which is reflected in attitudes towards school."

Many of the teachers also come in for an early morning bite.Assistant head Alan Hewitt says seeing them off-duty helps break down the "us and them" barrier between staff and pupils, and makes students realise that teachers are not just "put into a cupboard at the end of the day".

Dr Hewitt says the school will use the prize money to target the most needy children wth free breakfasts, provide more reading materials for the club and help develop links with a local primary.

The school lost 60 per cent of its buildings in a major fire four years ago, but has fought back with a wholesale review of its approach to learning. Part of this is a scheme that rewards positive behaviour with prizes ranging from personal stereos to driving lessons. Last August's key stage 4 results earned Dinnington Ofsted's praise as the "most improved secondary school in Rotherham". Food for thought, indeed.

Snaps by Jodie Adshead, Iain Connell and Paul Drabble

Learning mentor John Morris and head Jean Nicholson hand Lee Read a pound;15 book token in the monthly draw

Early birds: staff and students use the breakfast club

Extra time: catching up with work

Salad days:Philippa in food technology

Craig learns how to make compost

It works: finding out about form and function in design and technology

Rise and shine: nourished and fit to face life's hurdles

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