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Monday, February 01, 2010

Cereal killers

You have to give some credit to the new Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, he can produce a good turn of phrase.

His response to the Tories wanting to scrap free school breakfasts is to label them 'cereal killers' and accuse them of wanting to 'take food from the mouths of infants'.

We have been here before of course. The Conservatives argue that the money would be better spent elsewhere and that parents should be responsible for feeding their children. They are right but that is an ideal world. It does not work like that in reality, because many parents do not even get up to get their kids out for school never mind give them breakfast.

Some of the advantages of the free breakfast scheme include getting the kids into school on time, being able to stagger school transport arrangements and ensuring that their concentration is improved so as to actually learn something. There is also the benefit of socialisation that would not otherwise be available and the fact that we can educate children as to the advantages of a healthy breakfast.

The cost of this scheme is not vast in comparison to the rest of the budget and as always, the Tories' plans for the money far exceeds the cash that is available. We are not going to even dent the £540 difference in per pupil funding between England and Wales with this money for example.

If I were to do anything different it would be to give the schools a bit more discretion in how to spend the money. Some schools don't want to deliver free breakfasts for example, should they not have an equivalent sum to improve school dinners or to provide other nourishment during the day? Perhaps they might prefer to use the money to fund an after-school club. Maybe a bit more flexibility all round might lead to improved benefits.
On this issue I agree with the Conservatives 100%. I feel very strongly about this. My mum worked full time, (and a evening job too), but she always made sure my brother and I went to school after a breakfast. How difficult is it to pop a bowl of porridge into a microwave in the morning?

If the parents are too lazy to even get up in the morning to make their kids a quick breakfast then that is a very sad reflection on our society. What about the holiday period, do kids go out with breakfast or do parents get off their backsides to give their children corn flakes? Its wrong to say its only poor families who have breakfast in schools, from anecdotel evidence I can tell u many well-off parents send kids to school for the free breakfast. The £8.9 million should be spend on improving educations skills not gimmicks like this.
Unfortunately, there are still many children today, who's only cooked meal(s) are those provided by the state via school meals. Yes, it is a very sad reflection on our society.

Parents also let their children watch X rated videos and play X rated video games; parenting is a skill, unfortunately, not everyone is gifted with these skills and attributes.
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