Free breakfasts for 12,000 primary school pupils

Free school breakfast
Published on Tuesday, 08 January 2013 11:34
Posted by Scott Buckler

Blackpool's free school breakfast pilot scheme launches today, ensuring that thousands of children will not start school hungry

Pupils at all Blackpool primary schools will be provided with a range of healthy options for breakfast including fruit, yoghurt, toast, bagels, cereal bars and juice as well as continuing to receive free milk at morning break time.

The scheme will run as a pilot for three months and, it is hoped, will be extended throughout the school year.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: "The launch of this scheme is the culmination of a great deal of hard work to ensure that the children of Blackpool get the best possible start to their day and are able to maximise their ability to succeed in school.

"We hope that making sure young people are properly fed in the morning will help them to focus on learning and help teachers to do their job.

"There will be no discrimination between those families that can afford it and those that cannot, every pupil will be able to start their school day fed and ready to learn. It is really important that as many parents as possible take up this new service - it will save them cash every week that they can spend elsewhere in the local economy, and makes a huge collective effort to get our kids in school bright and early, and ready to learn.

"Our initial pilot covers free breakfasts and milk in primary schools but we would like to see this eventually extended to include secondary schools and universal free lunches. We need to create a generation of children who understand the importance of nutrition, who will then go on to provide that nutrition to their children."

"The idea has been well supported by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and welcomed by the Children's Society, whose research suggests the scheme is much needed.

"This is a revolutionary project and one which shows that Blackpool Council cares passionately about the future of our young children and is working to ensure they get the best possible start in life."

The majority of Blackpool primary schools will be providing free breakfasts from today.

Other schools will begin to provide free breakfasts by, at the latest, the start of the second half of the spring term.

The pilot is supported by research by the Children's Society which revealed that half of UK teachers are seeing hungry children coming into school.

The report also found that, every day, more than half of the 2.2 million school children living in poverty in England miss out on a free school meal.

The President of the NAHT, Steve Iredale, said the scheme would have "a huge impact," adding: "This is an issue on which central government and local government have got to sit down and act and we would be delighted to work with them on it.

"For too long it's something we have reflected on, but now it's time to do something about it."

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