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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

School breakfasts

A very heated debate took place in the Assembly Chamber today on the Labour policy of free school breakfasts for primary age children. The Tories were particularly virulent in their opposition, disputing even if breakfast offered any educational benefits. South Wales West AM, Alun Cairns quoted a survey from Ulster University that seemed to back up his argument. The survey, he said, showed that boys who went without breakfast had a hunger for success. This caused much puzzlement until a Liberal Democrat researcher identified the survey and e-mailed me. It appears that the research had a small sample group of 56 children. Half of them were fed toast and the other half fed beans on toast. It was sponsored by Heinz.

Meanwhile, Tory education spokesperson, David Davies, was in his usual confrontational form. He charged Labour with trying to introduce a nanny state and asked if Ministers wanted schools to tuck children up in their beds at night as well. This brought an indignant retort from soon-to-be-grandmother and Labour AM, Lorraine Barrett. "I am glad David Davies is not the father of my grandchild" she told the chamber. Who said debates were dull?

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