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Free school breakfasts for Blackpool children

11/01/2013 Joanna
Primary teachers in one north-west town may see fewer of their pupils distracted by hunger during the school day due to a new scheme that is being trialled.

Blackpool Council will provide around 12,000 children with free breakfasts at primary schools throughout the area in a pilot initiative that will run until April before potentially being retained for the remainder of the school year.

It will see pupils supplied with healthy breakfast options such as fruit, yoghurt, toast, bagels, cereal bars and juice, in addition to the free milk already available at morning break time.

The council's leader Simon Blackburn commented that ensuring children are well fed in the morning would enable them to focus on learning and help primary school teachers to do their job.

He vowed: "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."

Councillor Blackburn added that he would like to see the initiative expanded to include secondary schools and provision of free school lunches as well, stressing the importance of creating a generation of children that understand the value of nutrition.

Most Blackpool primary schools have already started to run this initiative, with the remainder expected to provide free breakfasts by the second half of the spring term.

The president of the National Association of Head Teachers Steve Iredale has backed the scheme to have a "big impact" and called on local and central government to discuss and act upon the issue of breakfast provision for schoolchildren.

A survey published by cereal manufacturer Kellogs back in November revealed that four out of five teachers had seen examples of children starting school without having eaten breakfast, primarily due to parental apathy or a shortage of money.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801520690-ADNFCR
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