School milk matters.
It matters to parents,
children and to the dairy
industry, yet many
schools do not provide
the option for pupils to
enjoy this nutritious drink.
If children in your area
are missing out, now is
the time to change the
situation by joining our
farmers weekly/Dairy Crest
ONCE upon a time young schoolchildren throughout Britain were given a free daily 1/3pt of milk to drink, a valuable source of calcium and vitamins to help little bones and teeth grow strong and true. Then along came Mrs Thatcher – Milk Snatcher, who whisked it away, leaving thirsty children at the mercy of tooth-rotting, activity-hyping, attention sapping, obesity contributing, highly sugared, coloured drinks at break time.
There could be a happy ending to this story – the EU subsidises the provision of free school milk to nursery-age children and subsidised milk for five-11 year olds – yet children are still sipping sugary empty calories as schools and parents fail to participate in the school milk scheme. Out of all eligible children only 16% take school milk regularly.
To redress the situation we want all readers, dairy producers or not, to join our farmers weekly/Dairy Crest campaign to put more milk in schools. The campaign will run until National School Milk Week in October and we need your help to reach parents, children, teachers and local education authorities to show them the benefits school milk can bring.
* Great cash prizes
We will show practical ways you can help and we will be offering great cash prizes for the families and schools who do most to get milk consumption up in their area. We will also highlight school milk initiatives throughout the industry, as we should all pull together on this issue.
There is no time to lose. Schools will need milk schemes organised before the long summer holidays if they are to start in the new school year in September. So make a start this week and find out if pupils in your area are benefiting from school milk.
In the coming weeks we will provide ideas and information on how to get a milk scheme operating and/or how to encourage more children to enjoy a daily drink of nutritious milk. And remember, not only will children benefit; families and schools have the chance to win hard cash and the dairy industry could get a much needed boost – if all eligible children in England and Wales took school milk daily they would consume more than 800,000 litres/day (1.43m pints/day). That equals sales worth around £134,000/day at farm-gate prices. Can we afford to ignore this?
• Nursery and primary schools (Key Stage 1 & 2) can claim for an EU subsidy through the Rural Payments Agency* for 250ml of drinking milk/child/day (age three-11).
• The government encourages Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and schools to make drinking milk available for those pupils who want it. Participation in the scheme is voluntary.
• There are 4.3m primary school children in England and Wales; 394,000 under fives drink milk at school; 647,000 five-11 year olds drink milk at school.
• In Wales, where free school milk up to age seven has been introduced, there has been a 67,000 increase in children per day drinking milk.
• Children whose parents receive Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, or support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are entitled to free school milk.
• All other drinking milk must be charged for.
* Fact sheet available from Ivan Cheery of RPA on 0118-968 7560.
"Dairy Crest is delighted to be supporting the "School Milk Matters" joint
campaign," says David Flannigan, managing
director of Dairy Crests Household Business Unit. "We are committed to the development and success
of our School Milk service and work hard to raise awareness among our local communities.
"We strive to help
motivate and educate
parents and children about the benefits of milk and its importance in every day life. Our success is based on constant recruitment of new schools and activity within our local
communities, some of which this year will include sports kits for schools, the Peterborough Education awards, school menu guides and National School Milk Week.
"As a part of our ongoing commitment, we will soon be launching a new look tall, slim line pack branded "The White Stuff". This
new pack will be a step
forward, giving milk a
cooler image and
appealing to all age groups."