The annual £800,000 cost is funded by the council’s public health department which will carry out the review
Blackpool’s free breakfast scheme for primary school pupils is to be reviewed by health chiefs to see if the scheme needs updating.
The council introduced the initiative in 2013 after it was feared some children were turning up to school with empty stomachs – affecting both their health and ability to learn. All pupils are entitled to receive a free breakfast, and the universal scheme is not means tested.
The annual £800,000 cost is funded by the council’s public health department which will carry out the review. Currently breakfasts are delivered on every school day for reception to year six classes inclusive, providing a range of bread, dairy and fruit options. Around 11,000 breakfasts a day are delivered.
Most schools provide pre-wrapped disposable breakfast food which is eaten by pupils in the classroom during the first 10 minutes of the school day, with just a small number of schools providing a canteen service. A report to a meeting of the council’s children and young people’s scrutiny committee says: “At the present time Public Health is undertaking a review of the scheme to ensure that the scheme is providing a healthy breakfast that meets the requirements of the School Food Plan”.
It adds the review is also aimed at “ensuring that the most vulnerable children are benefitting from the scheme, as well as being delivered in the most cost effective way.” A survey will be circulated to all schools and parents to gather views with the results used to “consider future service delivery models.”
Since 2016 fluoridated milk has also been offered as part of the free breakfast scheme to primary school children to improve their dental health. The report says approximately 52 per cent of the milk ordered by schools is fluoridated, with an estimated 4,500 children drinking it on a daily basis.
Levels of tooth decay among children in Blackpool are higher than the national average, with schemes introduced in recent years including teaching youngsters how to brush their teeth properly in an effort to improve dental health. Data from the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (April 2022) shows 20 per cent of Blackpool’s three-year- olds were affected by dental decay in 2019/20, an increase of 3.1 per cent from 2012/13 and higher than the England average of 10.7 per cent.
- 05:15, 20 SEP 2022