Milk to be axed from primary schools

Milk will no longer be offered to primary school children as a result of the UK’s departure from the European Union – a move described as “bad news” by Shetland’s MP.

Parents have been advised of an end to the EU School Milk Scheme, which has provided milk for sale to pupils.

The subsidy ended in July, and the provision is drawing to a close this month.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael highlighted the health benefits milk can bring to children, as well as the economic boost providing milk to schools can offer the farming sector.

He also warned that similar announcements were likely to follow.

“This is bad news but I fear it is not the last announcement of this sort that we shall have to hear,” he said.

“School milk is a nutritional benefit for children and a useful economic benefit for our few remaining dairy farmers.

“There is an emerging pattern in Brexit where the reality fails to meet the rhetoric.”

Director of children’s services Helen Budge said she valued milk and saw the benefit of it.

But she said less than half of primary age pupils chose to take milk in schools.

Mrs Budge added other measures, such as free school meals, remained available to those eligible to have them.

“Forty-one per cent of our primary age pupils take the milk – less than half of our young folk have chosen to have milk,” she said.

“As I understand, it’s something that has been in schools for a very long time.”

But she said the broad health and wellbeing curriculum provided opportunities to understand the benefits of a healthy diet.

She added the Scottish government was consulting on milk and healthy snacks in early learning and childcare settings.

“That’s something we’d be very interested in.”

Mrs Budge said children’s services was not considering funding a similar scheme itself.

“We do provide free school meals for young folk who are eligible. We’d want to see that continue and we’d want to encourage anybody that felt they were eligible for free school meals to apply.”


Add Your Comment
  • Peter Fish

    • November 1st, 2020 19:14

    I think it’s disgraceful that Shetland Council is refusing to provide milk for primary school children. The council could surely provide free school milk for all pupils if it wanted to, and as councils used to do until Mrs Thatcher intervened.

    If the milk was provided free to the children, the uptake would probably be double what it is now, and therefore a lot more children would benefit health-wise. That would obviously cost the council more, but at the very least they could continue to sell it at a subsidised price.

    The line taken by Mrs Budge comes across as uncaring and bureaucratic. Just because we aren’t in the EU doesn’t mean that Shetland can’t provide school milk if it wanted to – or if councillors and parents demanded it.

    • Heather Butler

      • November 3rd, 2020 19:47

      Yes . Mrs Budge and other caring people, will know that the most important drink for a growing child is indeed milk. Stops rickets, provides protein , calcium. Some children in Shetland are not so lucky as to be given milk at home. So come on, Mrs Budge; given your family have a farm and no doubt plenty of milk. Or I hope so.. Retain the milk for our young ones. Do the right thing. This young generation are our hope for the future.


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