Feed the Kids: a fact sheetPosted on December 4, 2012 by admin in Feed the Kids, News
A Fact Sheet on the Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill
What does the Bill do?
The Bill seeks to introduce nutritious, fully state-funded breakfast and lunch programmes into all decile 1 and 2 schools in New Zealand.
Child poverty in New Zealand
We know that there are many factors that lead to poverty, such as increasing unemployment, low incomes, poorly targeted welfare and intergenerational benefit dependency.
What we also know is that child poverty in New Zealand has doubled over the last 30 years. Using official household income statistics, it is estimated that 270,000 (25%) children live in poverty, a comparison that ranks us very poorly alongside other OECD and developed nations.
Poverty is the single largest contributor to educational under-achievement, and has resulted in epidemic levels of third-world diseases like rheumatic fever in many low-income communities.
Because of that level of poverty many children go to school without a proper breakfast and lunch. Research tells us that hungry children find it difficult to concentrate and learn and that their health and achievement levels suffer significantly as a result.
Feed the Kids: an immediate step to help address child poverty
Research into food-in-school programmes, both here and overseas, shows that they have a positive impact on school attendance, learning achievement, and child health.
Key organisations such as Every Child Counts, the Child Poverty Action Group, and the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group – have recommended food programmes in schools as an immediate way to help address child poverty in New Zealand.
The aim of this Bill is to feed children so that their wellbeing and learning at school is improved.
The Bill also recognises the importance of charities, businesses, and school volunteers currently involved in food in schools programmes and they will be important to the success of this policy, but reliance on charity and volunteers is often uncertain, especially in difficult economic times.
State funded breakfast and lunch programmes will bring certainty and ensure that all children in decile 1 and 2 schools are able to learn at school and be well on an on-going basis.
Do other countries provide state-funded free school meals?
Finland and Sweden provide state-funded free school meals. Other countries like the UK and Scotland provide state-funded free meals to eligible students, and some such as Brazil and Chile provide state-funded free meals to schools with high levels of deprivation.
$100 million a year – including food, staffing, administration, monitoring and evaluation
How would the Feed the Kids programme work?
Government would provide funding to ensure all decile 1 and 2 schools are able to provide nutritional breakfasts and lunches to all their students.
Part of the funding would be used to employ somebody to co-ordinate the programme and work with local businesses, charitable organisations, other schools, community networks, and of course school families themselves, to buy food and prepare meals.
The funding will also cover all food costs although donations of food will still be welcomed.
The bill gives schools the flexibility to implement practices that work best for them.