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Free School Meals Funded by Private School Parents

Discussion in 'Education news' started by JosieWhitehead, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Interesting that the removal of school milk from secondary schools by Harold Wilson's government never seems to be mentioned (1968) nor the Labour withdrawal of milk from under-7s (1977).
    My understanding is that the scheme was introduced to try to alleviate malnutrition leading to rickets rather than a response to poverty. Of course when it was introduced by the Act of 1946, food rationing was still in force.
    nomad likes this.
  2. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    I think milk is less of an issue these days. Kids generally have it on cereal, in yoghurt, ice-cream, Mcdonalds milkshakes(!) But what their diets are often lacking is freshly cooked food using a variety of fruit and veg. That's why I think the free school meal idea is good.
    vannie likes this.
  3. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I can only ever remember free school milk at primary schools. I don't think it covered secondary schools but I can tell you that we had lots and lots of milk puddings. As for the freshly cooked food: It is ridiculous that parents can't cook freshly cooked food. It only takes a few minutes - so what is the problem? Perhaps the problem these days is that women are working long and longer hours and so cooking fresh food might be perceived as more work - and poor teachers, instead of going home to rest after school, often are expected to carry on working doing various things. This cannot be right.
    schoolsout4summer likes this.
  4. blowswind

    blowswind Occasional commenter

    This interests me because it doesn't reflect what I've seen and I've worked with children in low income communities including the most deprived areas of England and Wales for about 20 years.

    The NHS stats state that underweight children in Reception are at 0.7 (girls) and 1.2 (boys) vs 21.6 overweight/obese (girls) and 22.7 (boys).

    Similarly for Y6: 1.5 (girls) 1.2 (boys) for underweight vs overweight/obese at 32.2 (girls) and 36 (boys)

    For Reception: 'Obesity prevalence ranged from 12.5% of children living in the most deprived areas to 5.5% in the least deprived areas'.

    and for Y6: 'Combined overweight and obesity prevalence ranged from 40.6% in the most deprived areas to 24.8%
    in the least deprived areas'

    It also finds that children in the most deprived areas are getting fatter over time.

    'Obesity prevalence for children in reception was highest in disadvantaged urban communities, but was higher in multicultural city life areas for year 6'

    None of this ignores the few children who are going hungry and should be referred to the relevant help for children suffering neglect. But it calls into question the real need and who will benefit.

    I think there are more important priorities at this moment in time.
    ElPintor likes this.
  5. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Let me explain:
    What she meant was that most teachers in Private schools (that have received formal Teacher Training) were trained by State schools, which was of course paid for by the government, not by the Private schools.
    PS: in a former life I was an engineer at Patchway. Happy days. The last time I drove past it was just a mountainous pile of bricks.
  6. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Over the years I have taught many neglected children whose parents never gave them breakfast. I had a few bollockings because I had sent my TA down to the Staffroom for a cup of milk and three biscuits. Often, these children would not get Free School Meals because their parents had not/would not/could not complete the forms, or, were not eligible for some reason. Their lunchbox might be a bag of crisps and some chocolate or sweets.
    What was particularly annoying for me was that our then Head was grossly obese and kept tins of Quality Street in her office and would be stuffing her face with these throughout the day!
    palmtree100 likes this.
  7. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    Yes we have obese children as well as thin children but when I talk about lack of nutrition I am thinking of both. The overweight kids who survive on sweets, fizzy drinks, chips and crisps need those healthy school lunches too.

    The children I have in mind are mostly thin though.
    vannie likes this.
  8. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    I often come across similar and these are the children I have in mind, for whom universal free school meals would be so beneficial.

    Many children from low income families are also neglected, and not entitled to free school meals.
  9. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Supply in about 100 Primary schools in the last nearly 4 years.
    I have noticed that there are a lot more obviously overweight children in and around the poorer areas of Bristol and Bath. If you go to more affluent/affluent areas there is usually a lot less, or even none that are noticeable..
  10. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    But why tax hard working families who forgo holidays, new cars etc to send their kids to private schools, relieving the burden on the state sector. I sympathise with parents struggling to buy school meals, but don't tax me further to pay for it.
  11. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    I agree. I'd be happier for the money to come from an increased tax on cigarettes, alcohol and fizzy drinks. Or reducing the amount of non-teaching SLT members who micro-manage teachers all day long.
  12. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Exactly: If you go round supermarkets this coming weekend and look into the shopping trollies of parents with children, do then consider whether they all need free school meals or not. Look at how much young people pay supermarkets for their after-school snacks or for lunch-time junk food and ask yourself whether they can't afford to eat a proper meal. There are many older people, and especially disabled people, who are crying out for some much-needed care to help them live a reasonable life, and what tax will help them?
  13. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    Since the free school meal is related to healthy eating, it would make more sense to raise the money from taxing unhealthy items like take-away food, cigarettes etc.

    I know part of the issue is neglect and poor parenting, as well as poor money management and lack of education among parents. But when children are with us at school, we try to rectify this. The government spends money on P.E. and after-school sports provision, even though we could just say it's up to the parents to take their kids swimming, to the park etc. We take kids on certain trips because we know their parents won't. I believe we should also spend money on feeding children properly once a day throughout their primary years.
  14. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Something which would help in the long-term would be to make cookery lessons compulsory at secondary school and teach all the pupils how to plan and cook basic, healthy meals.
    At my school we did half a year of cookery in Year 9. This was before the days of 'healthy eating'. We learnt how to make: cottage pie, tuna fish cakes, bread, pizza (with a bread base), lasagne, a Victoria sponge, a Bakewell tart, a fruit dessert...
    I really enjoyed what I learnt and still have and use my school recipe book with all the recipes which we had to copy from the board.
  15. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I do agree with you about the cookery lessons. In fact when I went to a secondary modern school when I was a teenager, cookery lessons were considered important. The other thing, though, was that we came from homes where junk food was not available during the war years, and almost everything we ate in the village where I lived, came from the garden. We loved food such as peas and strawberries etc but we learnt that we had to wait for them to be ready, and we couldn't just buy them in supermarkets - - well, there wasn't supermarkets. Butter, sugar, meat etc was rationed. There wasn't a lot of salty foods either. Remember the small bags of crisps with a little packet of salt? It wasn't much salt and you could just sprinkle a small amount on crisps, but crisps and ice cream were treats seldom bought. I think in our house you had to have a sore throat before you got an ice cream, ha ha
    needabreak and ViolaClef like this.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    That could well be to do with access to paid for sporting activities outside of school time.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  17. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    Also lack of garden to run around in.
  18. ElPintor

    ElPintor New commenter

    No, it is very much the primary pupils too. Perhaps even more so as younger children tend to be pickier eaters than older children. It's idealism that guides these policies rather than facts and reality. Where the Free School Meals are considered most needed are the areas where the majority goes in the bin. Fast food joints abound in poorer areas and around schools for good reason. This has been observed by myself and others across many different educational settings. What we need now are actual stats confirming how misguided the FSM policy is. Well intended, no doubt, but entirely devoid of supporting evidence.
  19. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Yes, @JosieWhitehead, we've come a long way since the rationing of food during the Second World War, but not necessarily all of it in a good direction. Back then food was appreciated because it was both scarce and seasonal. Most meals had to be made from scratch and many of the ingredients would have been fresh, natural or from the garden. Nowadays the choice, variety and quantity is overwhelming - and the amount of sugar, salt and other additions to our food has risen too. Today's children must be among the fussiest and unhealthiest eaters ever - because they are allowed to be. It doesn't have to be this way, but it would take the unified effort of various agencies and much education to get back on track to better eating habits.
    palmtree100 likes this.
  20. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    It's tragic to recognise that we require a multi-agency approach to pass on the most basic element of parenting - feeding your child well. This cannot be the failing of just one generation.

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