Nathan Atkinson

Fuel for School

United Kingdom

Nathan Atkinson

Nathan is a headteacher at a school in Leeds, England, and has used an innovative approach to vastly increase both student learning outcomes and the wider positive social effect of his school. He has introduced the Thrive Approach to Richmond Hill school, which grounds itself in the basic insight that in order to learn properly and thrive, children need their basic needs met: they have to feel safe and be well-fed with nutritious food, so that they can participate as members of the school community.

In order to achieve this the school offers a free breakfast for all children (delaying the beginning of lessons to make room) and also continues to provide food for the community outside term time. To raise awareness of the importance of food, Nathan has coordinated a free ‘waste breakfast’ for pupils across the region. This provided food to 10,000 schoolchildren that would have been thrown away but was still safe to eat. This event transformed into the Fuel for School project, which currently provides 30 schools in Leeds with a twice-weekly delivery of food: more and more schools are signing up to the project.

Nathan has discussed his approach at various conferences around the country and also presented it in Parliament. Fuel for School has been covered extensively on BBC and ITV channels and Nathan has even worked with noted celebrity school food campaigner Jamie Oliver. He was also nominated for the Pride of Britain award in 2016. If awarded the prize, he would invest the money in a widening of the Fuel for School project, taking it to a national level.