A service offering bagels to an increasing number of pupils at a Stevenage junior school "to help reduce their hunger and allow them to concentrate on their learning" has been saved thanks to a heart-warming response from the school community.

Earlier this month, Louise Whitby, headteacher at Giles Junior School, wrote to parents explaining that the school would no longer be part of the Magic Breakfast Programme that had been running for the past three years.

"You will be painfully aware of the cost-of-living crisis," she said. "This has extended to all sectors of society and is affecting the educational sector in a rise of costs in many areas.

"We have been fortunate to be part of the Magic Breakfast Programme for the past three years, which has allowed us to provide breakfast bagels for all pupils who have wanted them by contributing a small amount to the charity each year.

"Their charity has had to scale back the number of schools which can be part of the programme and, sadly, Giles Junior School is no longer going to be receiving a weekly bagel delivery after January."

Miss Whitby said she had wanted to make parents aware because the school has had "an increasing number of pupils who are regularly accessing bagels to help them reduce hunger and allow them to concentrate on their learning".

She said the school would continue to buy "a small allocation of fruit", for children who have forgotten their snack.

The response has been overwhelming, with families offering financial donations to help keep the scheme running, leading to a u-turn within days.

"Bagels are back," Miss Whitby has announced, explaining: "We were overwhelmed by the generous offer of donations to support us sourcing and having deliveries from a local supplier to allow us to keep our universal offer of a bagel in the morning."

She said the school has sourced a supplier who can begin deliveries in February, at a cost of about £3,000 a year. 

"In these difficult times, it shows the community spirit which is present in our family body," Miss Whitby said. 

"Thank you to those who came forward offering to donate. The pupils will benefit tremendously from this being able to continue."