Milking school standards

I just want to clear up the position for schools regarding school milk.

I have been asked a couple of times for clarification, on the back of the NAHT letter and this recent Dfe infogram highlighting the new school food standards. so here goes.

From January there are new requirement, within the school food standards, meaning all schools have to make milk available. (Though many academies are exempt)

In essence, maintained schools have to give free semi skimmed milk to all Fsm children who want it and allow all other children to access milk (though schools may charge)

For infants, this only applies to benefit derived Fsm and not UIFSM,

When milk is provided as part of worked out menu at lunch, it must be free for all.

An important point is that schools are expected to fund this themselves. Many will choose to buy in small cartons, however my advice (certainly in primary) would be to buy a large container from the supermarket and put out plastic cups at morning break.

Some of you may be puzzled by the sudden return of milk to schools, and the fact it has to be made available to all children. The following was an aside in a previous blog, but may provide some answers.

I find it interesting that the requirement for all schools to have Low fat milk “available” made it into the final standards.

There is always a debate to have about the benefits or not of skimmed milk, but I suspect I am not the only one to raise an eyebrow at the highly unusual phrasing, requiring schools to have “milk available”, so not give it, not supply it, but make it available? Why this wording over anything more explicit? Why not just highlight the benefits and allow schools to choose? Why the compulsion to “make it available”? Do all academies have to provide milk?

As my old tutor used to say, “Follow the money”, who benefits from making milk available? having to keep milk in school? From regularly having to update their stock and order more?

The spotlight could fall on the biggest school milk supplier, Coolmilk limited, and reading the Summary of responses to consultation on the standards, perhaps sheds some light?

“The campaign by Cool Milk highlighted considerable concern on the part of parents and schools about the proposal to require schools to make milk available at lunchtime”

“We have listened to the concerns of the almost ten thousand respondents who raised this issue and, while we feel it is vital that milk is available during core school hours, we agree that it is not essential specifically at lunchtime. We have amended the legislation accordingly to require milk to be available during the main school day”

So a consultation which received 220 written responses, received 9,606 responses related to a campaign by CoolMilk raising issues about the requirement for schools to make milk available.

And it seems the campaign was reasonably successful, though its main aim of having milk available every lunch was discarded, this compromise will no doubt be a satisfactory trade-off for 10000 emails?

(A quick footnote. From January, teachers will no longer be allowed to give any hungry child in their class a biscuit, they will only be able to provide fruit, veg, nuts, SENs and certain toasted breads)


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