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Teach a schoolkid to eat properly, and it'll become an analogy for a fishing parable.
but there used to be a real stigma about free dinners when i was at school. there was a ticket system, and the council estate kids and general smellies had their own queue in the canteen.
I was a packed lunch playa.
Did have a nice little sideline in dealing dinner tickets at one point, though. Was clearing 75p a time.
free school meal kids (including me) were not allowed fizzy drinks! what the hell. used to bully kids into smuggling cakes in their blazer pockets, but that's for another time
but as the queue for the free lunch token was usually shorter than the one for the paying with actual money, got through much quicker.
don't think I actually ever had a meal though, usually wanted to get stuff (usually as many penguins/fudges/curly wurlys as you could buy with £1.10 or whatever it was we got) I could put in my pockets and get back outside playing football asap. one person did attempt to take out some chips using their pocket and lots of tissues. ended badly.
I was the only one in my year and there were only 3 of us in the whole school.
So I didn't realise free school meals weren't universal until I left school. True story.
I always brought in a packed lunch because vegetarianism confused the schools.
And if it shows that it improves child nutrition (both in the short-term and long-term eating habits), child attainment at schools and alleviates the pressure and the stigma on low-income parents, then it's a good thing.
Obviously, one would hope that there is also a long-term plan for tackling low-incomes and children living in poverty, better education around food and nutrition and a clamp-down on the interests of the fast-food and junk-food industry as well, but if universal free school meals are the most effective way of making the biggest impact, then it's a no-brainer really, and sounds like one of the few instances of this government actually following an evidence-based policy instead of one dictated by vested interests.
the last time it was discussed here. It had a strong empirical basis then. The only difference is that it was framed as outside food being BANNED!!!! rather than inside food being free.
In fact, I can't be fucked with light-touch, kernel-of-truth WUMing. Let's all hold hands.
Err... Not really. This is a fundamentally different approach.
I can't remember the last thread about this, or what I might have said in it, but I don't think that there was any suggestion in the previous proposals that every school meal would be free. The evidence for this working is much stronger and wider, especially in circumstances where you have a government that's increasing child poverty, reducing nutrition education amongst parents and pupils, and allowing the fast food lobby to dictate a lot of policy.
It might be a 'fundamentally different approach' but to the same ultimate goal of more closely regulating what every child in state education eats. Which would be a pretty good, sensible thing imo. We're not disagreeing.
is something to strive for... feels really weird to me.
(Depends on the relation in question, I suppose.)
*Vader throat squeeze*
Universal free school meals have been shown to increase pupil health and achievement in schools. Well done on the Labour local authorities in Newham, Southwark and Islington for pioneering this in the face of local Lib Dem and Tory opposition.
it's essentially a (rare?) win for evidence based policy making over ideology. Unfortunately doesn't solve the other problem of a lot of people are growing up not knowing how to feed themselves/their kids well, but it seems it's been proven to improve overall health/attainment where it's been done.
I'm for it anyway.
Seems totally fair, bro.
this. means. NOTHING
... that the cops KNEW internal affairs were setting them up?
Seems like a very good idea. Bit dense of the tories to allow the Libs to take ownership of it...
Is a quid pro quo for the Tories unveiling their tax plans, specifically their plans for married couples allowances and other social engineering nanny-state stuff. The Lib Dems seem to have set that as a (seemingly arbitrary, given their support of all of the other things the Tories have wanted to do, whether they were in their manifesto or not) line in the sand for being seen to endorse those.
One has to hope that this evidence-based progressive policy is effective enough to override the Tories' ideology-driven ones it was exhanged for.
And give each kid £X.XX per week.
We'll be a nation of scran-maximising Jordan's in no time.
And all the better for it.
Another loophole that needs closing is the impossibility of claiming if you're on Working Family Tax Credit - at one point we were worse off than if we'd been on benefits, but I couldn't get free school meals cause we were on WFTC.
It gets around your existing issue many who should be able to claim free meals can't. It gets around the stigma of free school meals (some people refuse to claim because of it). It's proven to improve overall attainment and health.
I don't think many in this thread would suggest it's an ideal solution to the problems we have in this country around nutrition, but I don't think it should be rejected on the basis of not being perfect.
but there are better ways to deal with the same issue which wouldn't be any more difficult to implement - closing niggly little holes in the system like the one I mentioned and then leaving it well alone would be far better (and possibly cheaper and easier to do as well) than rolling this out en masse when most kids don't need it financially. It's wrong for the same reason that universal child benefit is wrong - rich, disengaged people wanting to look like they understand those on the breadline. It's wrong for the same reason that 'we're all in this together' is a daft and inaccurate slogan.
At work - will reply at more length later.
and are making statements that totally contradict the evidence. Throwing in the fact that you have received WFTC doesn't legitimise this ignorance, or make your view any more relevant than someone who understands the issues.
You haven't linked the evidence, just smugly stated that it accords with your predetermined opinion. I'm pretty sure I understand the issues very well, having been engaged in them more recently than you (unless you've got kids I don't know about) but thanks anyway. There's no need to be so chippy every single time someone has a differing opinion to yours, it doesn't make you look like a very kind or tolerant person.
I don't mean to upset you btw, I'm sure you're an OK guy. It would just be nice to be able to post 'I am working, and will read up and post later', without some guy using it as a stick to beat me with because he read an article that happened to agree with his prejudices. It's really insecure, and it probably puts a lot of people off posting in these threads.
Note one of the main conclusions:- 'By contrast, extending entitlement to free school meals to all pupils from low income families in work, as happened in Wolverhampton, had no significant effect on educational attainment for either primary or secondary school pupils.'
that's useful :-)
I read the evidence and then decide on an opinion. if the evidence chances, I change my opinion. I really can't be arsed to link to all the evidence that's been published in relation to these pilots and studies, as it's something that everyone should have read before deciding to post in this thread, frankly, instead of just spouting off unsubstantiated guff and claiming a more justifiable view because one has encountered one facet of the current policy in their life, compared to, I don't know, people who have worked and specialised in, or taken an interest in this area of public policy for years. It's pretty obvious that you DON'T understand the issues, despite your (limited) personal experience.
If you understand the issues it is possible to have a reasoned opinion on things/people you don't have personal experience of, you know. It's called empathy.
And still you don't address how this is seemly pointless, and again, you don't acknowledge that this policy makes your complaint about loopholes completely redundant.
If you view it in a Public Health context it makes total sense.
I appreciate I'm pulling this out of thin air, but there was a statistic a few months ago regarding the number of in-nutritional packed lunches that school kids took to school. From a public health perspective it makes total sense.
What we have now is a means-tested system, that obviously is not working as well as these trialled schemes have.
Universal free school meals avoid the loopholes and confusion surrounding WFTC too.
I don't understand your post.
He LIVES this shit, man
it would just be nice to be able to have a point of view anonymously on the internet, without someone in a career with an average salary of 30k at the lower end telling me I don't understand my own life.
you've never given any impression that you DO understand your own life or anyone else's
Your fetishisation of personal experience is bizarrely anti-intellectual.
In this specific instance you're being told you don't understand this specific policy suggestion, or the public health implications of it. In fairly polite terms, too. It may be that this suggestion is unfair but rather than address it own its own terms you've constructed a paper-thin straw man. I see no reference to your life, or your own understanding of it. I suspect this instance is a fair reflection of most politics threads.
but I've also done it in ways that are fairly impolite too.
I've got fed up of his anti-evidence, anti-intellectual singular-anecdote trolling.
It's the equivalent of a diabetic who's never read a book telling everyone how to cure diabetes rather than a doctor or researchers.
nice and easy to use 'trolling' to dismiss someone who doesn't agree with you on a lot of things, rather than bothering to have a discussion about it, or, y'know, actually sharing the evidence. Grow up.
Give it up.
he's at work and this is just a programme someone's designed where you pay a robot to win arguments for you. every fourth reply is some variation of 'nice trolling'
I'm trying to get off here as it stands, because it's not positive for my life, and I'm going to do so for the rest of today at least.
I'm sure that if we were ever to run across each other in the real world, we'd be able to talk about things like this rationally, and probably agree on a lot of fundamentals, but there's no point us winding each other up on a website when deep down we're on the same side.
I hope you have a good afternoon.
or indicated that you've actually read the evidence behind it. Do that, and there might be scope for a discussion.
it's obviously and demonstrably quite good for lots of reasons. particularly from a child nutrition and attainment point of view. but money could be much better spent elsewhere. it smacks of the lib dems trying to show theyve done something tangible in government. the marriage tax break trade off thing is just about the most reactionary load of bullshit ever.
as policies go, this is a good one. All infants school kids will benefit from having a healthy lunchtime meal, it will also cut down on those that take 'sandwiches' i.e. a packet of crisps and yoghurt.
friend of mine used to work at a school that did free school breakfast. Apparently it'd be introduced since a lot of the kids didn't eat breakfast at all and so till lunchtime they weren't as attentive. Good idea maybe? Would cost a pretty penny though I'm sure.
It's a shame that for a lot of children they're necessary in terms of nutrition and early morning childcare, but they do seem to increase attendance, attentiveness and wellbeing.
It's a fucking scandal.
But it riles me a little that schools are seen as the best (only?) way to solve the problem. If it's the only option, it's the only option I suppose, but... nnnnnnnnnnnnnngh. Really not a big fan of schools being turned into surrogate parenting facilities.
I don't know whether or not it's been a success though.
Essentially subsidising free meals for middle class kids whose parents can afford them in the first place. Poor kids get school free meals anyway. If the problem is that the income threshold isn't high enough for poor kids to get free school meals, then raise the threshold, don't enact some universal, non means tested policy such as this.
We've had some unsubstantiated statements about universal free school meals improving educational attainment, some guff about stigma and no serious discussion about this being another piecemeal, thrown together policy which middle class children who are already more likely to be well fed and looked after by their parents get free food at the cost of £600m which could go towards spending in other areas for people who need it.
I posted two links to studies that showed what you propose (increasing the threshold) has been shown to have no significant effect, whereas universal free lunches has been shown to improve health and attainment across the board.
I'll quote again. "By contrast, extending entitlement to free school meals to all pupils from low income families in work, as happened in Wolverhampton, had no significant effect on educational attainment for either primary or secondary school pupils."
Cynical - yeah, but kids are getting fed
Subsidising everyone from the poor to the richest...who gives a fuck. Kids are getting something to eat. Not like theyre giving it to Petula and Ruperts parents to buy more champagne is it. Fucking hell.
Genuinely astonished by some of the comments in it. Genuinely.
But then again the policy isn't to appease some unthinking meatheads on DiS, it's to try and ensure the thousands of children who go to school hungry, every morning, in the UK have access to free (and hopefully nutritious) meals while they're there. So, y'know, these things can be easily ignored...
is there evidence that thousands of children who are not currently eligible for free school meals are going to school hungry? not disputing that fact. it may well be true. but even if it is, universal free school meals may not be the best strategy for dealing with kids not eating breakfast.
...but the amount of children who are affected by missing meals, with a direct link to poverty, in the UK is reasonably heavily researched. Pretty sure all of the UK's major children's charities will have done some kind of research into it. The Children's Society are cited here, for instance: http://www.channel4.com/news/teachers-fear-children-going-hungry-survey-reveals
My `...children who go to school hungry` is probably slightly overly emotive language but, at the very least, there is a problem with children from some of the poorest families in this country getting adequately fed. The consequences of this have been well documented in this thread.
What is a better strategy for dealing with the problem, in your opinion?
when you're arguing that extending fsm to them is good BECAUSE children are hungry. would be a bit odd to argue that they should get fsm because other children are hungry.
i think one strategy would be to create jobs and make the minimum wage the living wage. since no tory or lib dem government is ever going to do that, they could for example reverse some of the benefits cuts they've implemented. since no tory or lib dem government is ever going to do that...etc. etc.
this sort of stopgap, half arsed measure is the best we can expect from this government unfortunately. maybe they could have done something about improving the quality of school meals, offering a part subsidy for middle income families and an electronic system to further reduce any stigma (this is already common in secondary schools).
If anything it's too markedly long term
i don't know why you're assuming it's going to actually reduce reliance on public services in the future (i assume you mean health). would that not depend on the quality of food available? have we had a guarantee that it's going to be healthy and appealing to children?
...as in, having a graph showing 'Number of children who are going to school hungry' and then `layering over` 'Number of these children eligible for free school meals' and seeing if there was a substantial disparity between the two. I was saying I hadn't done that, which was me conceding that I don't have all of the evidence at my disposal to make my point. Apologies if my language was confusing.
I don't think this measure is a stop-gap, or half-arsed, personally. Seems a reasonably pragmatic response to a problem which, in my view, needs government intervention.
Also, if stigma's an issue... doesn't the universality of this policy get around that to an extent? Everyone (rich or poor) gets free school meals. Not sure how that widens stigma or class divisions, myself.
i'm still really unclear about that. who is it to benefit?
dunno what you mean in the last sentence...i didn't say it widened class divisions.
...and as such are a) suffering ill health/malnutrition and b) falling behind in school. The previous system for dealing with this (means-testing) has been deemed inadequate, and a universal approach to ensure that ALL children are eligible for free and nutritious food in schools has been agreed to help solve this problem. Seems reasonably straight-forward to me.
You were talking about stigma, which I directly responded to. I extended this to class divisions (to give a bit of macro-political context as opposed to just, I dunno, kids bullying each other or something) but if this misrepresented what you were saying then, again, apologies.
at a time when vital public services are being cut.
...more an argument against its positioning in the hierarchy of governmental spending priorities. Which is a fair position to take.
especially when the only reason this has come about is because of a tax break for people who don't need a tax break! meaning even less available for public expenditure that could be targeted on those living in poverty. i can see the appeal of universal free school meals, honestly. but in this government, in austerity, in a system that is consistently failing millions of people, it can't be justified.
I hate kids. I think them and families are put up on a pedestal in this country and everyone else is fucked over for them. But making sure every kid is fed twice a day is a completely reasonable idea regardless of outlay (isnt it somethign stupid like 65p per meal aswell?!?!). At least in my head. Anyway, you like protesting so get your placard and stand outside a school with still_here if youre that annoyed by it
are there children not being fed at least twice a day who are currently not eligible for fsm? what i said to goml, is there actually evidence of this?
cause i can tell you as a fact that there are children going home from school in this country with nothing substantial to eat in the evening. and parents going without food os that their children can be fed and clothed. or so that they can turn on the heating. personally i'd help them first.
If you feel that, in this social/political climate, that the money spent on this would be better spent somewhere else then... that's fine. But that's a never-ending argument, as we all know.
I have reservations (as mentioned upthread) about schools being the de facto provider of foods and drink, rather than parents.
Open to persuasion, but the way 'stigma' is being put forward as insurmountable unless universal provision is bought in makes me do a hmmm.
...more that it offers a substantial safety net for when provision of food and drink in the home fails (for a variety of reasons).
TheWza on the side of the classical libertarians - who'd have thought :)
DK said upthread that the ultimate goal of more closely regulating what every child in state education eats is something to strive for.
Sure, put some limits on the worst excesses of anything that's provided by schools, but I can't get behind close regulation being an ultimate goal.
And for all the claimed success of limited trials of universal provison compared to the existing situation (and all it's 'stigma') I can't help having the suspicion that (a) the root problem isn't being addressed, and therefore (b) potential unintended side-effects.
Maybe, rather than full-on state provision in the one hand, or a free-for-all on the other, there's a need for some sort of middle ground. Like the equivalent of Housing Associations.
Not ideologically. The time for immediate intervention has come and is in fact overdue, imo. But it is politically awkward.
But, you're right ultimately in that the root problem isn't being addressed (i.e. child poverty in the UK). Doesn't stop this being the right thing to do, at this moment in time, though.
Just pulling a couple of points together. For sure, there are many worse things that could happen than this going ahead.
...but failed. Didn't mean for it to come across a bit snarky.
For all of the banter in this thread I think we're all largely in agreement that there are several political measures which could reduce the need for this sort of thing. DD lists a couple upthread. State interventions in childcare, housing and the minimum wage are minimum requirements to improve child poverty in this country. This government isn't going to attempt reform in any of those areas in a millenium of Sundays so, in lieu of that, this policy is very appealing.
Then they can afford to pay for free school meals
that should eventually result in a lesser need for those public services in the future. A lack of investment in and aspiration for out children is the direct cause of many of the adult problems that require public service spending.
Not that the people badly hit by public service cuts are acceptable collateral damage or owt.
simply put, I don't believe that this government would spend this £600m a year otherwise mitigating the many, many bad welfare policies they've put in place.
As for your above post (can't be fucked to jump around), I think you know exactly why I think it could/would 'actually' reduce reliance on public service in the future- you might not agree and it'd be interesting to hear why
but i'm sceptical and would have to see evidence to account for it. when the impact of a policy can't possibly be assessed until 20 years down the line, and so cant be modified along the way, there needs to be a pretty compelling case. also theres a greater need cause successive governments need to have confidence in it or it'll get scrapped pretty quickly. not arguing policies need INSTANT RESULTS, far from it.
I would love to see more longerterm objectives able to make their way into policy planning. but there is kind of necessarily a greater burden of proof.
One Day Travelcard Wanker
Now matched by the SNP.
Supported by: Unison, STUC, Shelter, Scottish Lib Dems, Save the Children, The Green parties, Children in Scotland, Department for Education in England, Children 1st, the Educational Institute of Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group, Church of Scotland, Poverty Alliance, National Association of Head Teachers
Opposed by: Scottish Labour, Scottish Conservatives, TaxPayers' Alliance.
should subsidise the lifestyles of millionaires then?