Two-thirds of school children aged between five and 11 could be missing out on school milk, according to the dairy industry.
A new campaign called ‘Missing Milk?’ has been developed for this year’s School Milk Week which takes place in schools from 10-14 Oct.
As well are providing schools with information packs and advice on how to apply for the EU subsidy, schools are also being encouraged to hold Fitness Fridays.
“The dairy industry believes that over two-thirds of all five to eleven year-olds could currently be going without milk at schools,” said Edmund Profitt from Dairy UK.
“During childhood, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build strong bones and reduce the risk of developing brittle bones – osteoporosis – later in life.
“We also want to ensure that children are benefiting from the nutrients contained in a glass of milk.”
Diane Cannon, School Milk Project manager at the Milk Development Council said: “According to statistics from the Rural Payments Agency, there are just over three and a half million children, out of a potential seven million, currently claiming the EU subsidy.
“This is a huge improvement compared to three years ago, but there are still a vast amount of youngsters who are missing out on milk.
“When you take into account that most of this subsidy is claimed on behalf of children who are under five years of age – when they’re entitled to free milk anyway – you can see it’s the 5-11 year-olds who are really missing out.”
Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Education and Skills has also given her backing to the campaign.
“The government encourages local education authorities and schools to provide milk to pupils that want it and endorses milk as providing a valuable contribution to a balanced diet as well as being a healthier alternative to soft drinks.”