The School Food Standards, as you may be aware, came into force in January 2015 and legally require all schools, excluding academies established between September 2010 and June 2014, to make milk available to children at any time during the school day.
The School & Nursery Milk Alliance has produced a guidance briefing (reproduced below) to ensure that school governors are best positioned to fulfil their legal duty to require their schools to comply with the standards. This will also enable children in their schools to enjoy the health, educational and social benefits for milk.
The Alliance’s briefing provides context to the requirements and offers advice on ensuring that children choose to drink milk – for example, by providing it as a mid-morning snack, and ensuring that it is chilled and appropriately packaged. References to the EU School Milk Scheme and the Nursery Milk Scheme as ways of helping schools meet the requirement are included. The Alliance has also outlined the health, educational and societal benefits of milk as a further incentive.
The government’s Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014, which came into force in January 2015, require that schools must provide milk at least once during the school day. Milk is a healthy, nutritious and natural drink for children and young people, providing them with the nutrients and other benefits needed to help them thrive in school. The School and Nursery Milk Alliance is keen to ensure that as many children as possible benefit from milk in school, and so has compiled advice for school governors on complying with the standards, as well as background to the legislation itself.
The scientific community, the European Union and the Government all recognise the value of milk. From January 2015, all schools – with the exception of academies or free schools founded between September 2010 and June 2014 – are legally required to provide milk to children once during the school day. Over 1,400 academies and free schools that are not legally required have also signed up to the standards voluntarily.
Your duties as a school governor: milk must be provided once during the school day
Regulation 9 of the Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014 outlines that:
A school’s governing body is responsible for ensuring compliance with the standards, according to the Department for Education’s guidance, School food in England: Departmental advice for governing bodies (2015).
The EU School Milk Scheme can assist with cost of providing milk to children over five, with schools receiving a subsidy of 4.4p per 250ml (Oct. 2015) and parents financing the difference. Free milk can be provided to under-fives via the Nursery Milk Scheme. Further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/the-school-milk-subsidy-scheme-guidance and http://www.nurserymilk.co.uk/.
The School Food Standards recognise the benefits of milk to children during the school day. The School and Nursery Milk Alliance would like to see school governors ensuring that their schools comply with the standards, and that they actively work to ensure that as many children as possible drink milk during the school day. Better uptake is likely if the milk is:
Milk has an array of benefits which should be considered alongside the legal requirement to provide it:
The School and Nursery Milk Alliance was formed in 2011 with the long-term aim of ensuring as many children enjoy the health benefits of milk as possible. It works with the government, public health bodies and organisations across the health, dairy and children’s sector to encourage the uptake of milk.