Free breakfast scheme for Blackpool school children approved

Plans to give all children in Blackpool a free school breakfast to stop them turning up for lessons hungry have been approved by the town's council.

From January, Blackpool's 12,000 primary school pupils are to receive free milk, fruit juice, cereal or toast as part of a three-month trial.

Council leader Simon Blackburn said "under-nourishment is a real problem" in the town.

The scheme will be rolled out to secondary schools if successful.

The potential annual cost would be in the region of £2.1m, according to a council report.

'Dramatic' improvements

The aim of the scheme is to improve behaviour, attendance and standards in schools.

Mr Blackburn added: "Blackpool still has a big problem with attendance, attainment and behaviour in the classroom.

"Daily we see and hear of children attending school who quite clearly haven't had breakfast, and are not therefore able to learn.

"A recent survey of schoolchildren suggests that some of our older pupils are more likely to have used alcohol or tobacco in the last week than they are to have eaten breakfast or had five portions of fruit and veg a day.

"All of the evidence points towards the provision of school breakfasts improving attendance, attainment and behaviour - in some cases quite dramatically."

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