Free milk for school pupils: will your child be entitled?

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  • Children are to be given free milk in schools as of 2015, according to new government plans, revealed today.

    The scheme, announced by the Conservatives, is a somewhat surprising move after they cut free milk for over-sevens back in 1971, when Margaret Thatcher was Education Secretary.

    It’s all part of new food standard plans for schools, revealed by current Education Secretary Michael Gove, as the government attempts to tackle obesity by clamping down on sugary fruit juice drinks, fried products. It also aims to improve calcium levels in school kids.

    Even though UK schools are encouraged to serve ‘healthy drinks’ many do not offer milk as an option. The plan is that semi-skimmed milk ‘must be available for drinking at least once a day’ in all primary and secondary schools.

    While this is a welcome move for most, not all children will get the milk for free. Under-fives will continue to get their milk free of charge, whereas older children will have to buy it, with the exception of those who are enroled on free school meals.

    The new standards have outlined the following changes:

    • Fruit juice will be restricted to just one glass per day to protect kids’ teeth from the high sugar content
    • Children must be offered three different types of fruit per week, and three different vegtables
    • Just two portions of food on offer a week may be cooked in oil (chips, for example)
    • Wholegrain carbohydrates like brown bread and pasta are to replace refined ones
    • A portion of meat, fish, eggs or beans to be offered every day
    • No snacks except nuts, seeds, vegtables and fruit with no added salt, sugar or fat
    • Desserts, cakes and biscuits only allowed at lunchtime

    The new rules kick in from the 1 January 2015 – we can’t wait to see what changes they bring.

    What do you think to the changes? Will your little ones benefit from the plans? Let us know in a comment below.

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