Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Food in Schools - The Issue


Food in Schools
The Issue
• A 2005 study by New Zealand researchers concluded that “a significant number of New Zealand children’s diets were so poor that their brain functioning was affected”.1

• This impact on student achievement is only getting worse with the number of children living in hardship increasing from 15 per cent in 2007 to 21 per cent last year.2 There are now 270,000 children living in poverty.

• Hunger and poverty is one of the reasons socio-economic background has a larger impact on student achievement in New Zealand than in any other OECD country.3

• Every week 40,000 kids turn up to school without breakfast or without lunch and are fed by charities.4

• But there a more kids who need help. The last nationwide survey of children’s nutrition undertaken by the Ministry of Health found 83,000 children aged 5 to 14, sometimes or often went to school without breakfast.5

Current Situation

• Non-profits like KidsCan and churches as well as businesses like Sanitarium and Fonterra (through the Kickstart programme) are already doing a great job providing students at low decile schools with free food, but they don’t reach every school and every kid that needs it.

• Last year a food in schools programme run by the Red Cross, which fed 1,600 children every day, was forced to close down after its main food sponsor pulled out.6

• National is ignoring the problem. Last year they spent $562,874 on sports funding for private schools7 yet only spent barely half that ($317,000) on support for organisations providing free food in low decile schools.8

Labour’s Proposal

• Labour will partner with community and voluntary organisations, incorporating the most cost-effective approaches currently operating, to provide free food in every decile 1-3 primary, intermediate school that needs and wants it.

• There are 650 decile 1-3 primary and intermediate schools in New Zealand with a total of roll of 119,135 students.9

Cost

• There are a range of estimates of what would be required to fund a credible food in schools programme. The final cost of Labour’s food in schools initiative will depend on the design of the programme, the type of meals provided and the input and support received from the lo¬cal community and businesses.

• The Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty cites a figure of $3 million for the poorest 40% of schools, based upon estimates from KidsCan.10

• The Child Poverty Action Group has estimated that it would cost $18.9 million a year to provide breakfasts for the poorest 30% of primary and intermediate schools.11 That includes $10.9 million for food and $8 million for administration costs which would be substantially reduced by Labour’s partnership approach.

The Benefits

• By ensuring that every decile 1-3 student has access to at least one healthy and filling meal each day they are at school, this proposal will remove a significant barrier to student’s learn¬ing and achievement.

• Here is a sample of major studies on the link between nutrition and children’s learning:12

Poor school performance can also be improved through the provision of breakfasts in schools. In Massachussetts, children who participated in a school breakfast programme achieved higher test scores and had reduced absenteeism (Meyers, Sampson, Weitzman, Rogers, & Kayne, 1989).

There is now a substantial body of research showing breakfast consumption contributes to students’ academic performance and school attendance (Rampersaud, Pereira, Girard, Adams, & Metzl, 2005).

Eating a good quality breakfast has been found to slow the rate children’s cognitive performance declines during the morning (Ingwersen, Defeyter, Kennedy, Wesnes, & Scholey, 2006).

A controlled study in Minnesota that provided a nutritious breakfast to primary-aged children found children who participated showed “better concentration, increased alertness and energy, and a decrease in stomach aches and headaches.” Other benefits included “a decrease in discipline problems, and benefits in social behaviour, attendance, and a general increase in math and reading scores” (Wahlstrom & Begalle, 1999).

A Boston study that provided free breakfasts to children in public schools likewise found that among the children who consumed breakfast, there was a significant improvement in maths tests scores and a decrease in the number of days they were absent (Kleinman et al., 2002).

Research consistently shows that children who do not have adequate food at home are likely to be more frequently absent or late to school than their peers, have lower academic achievement and poorer performance, especially in numeracy and literacy, and difficulty concentrating (Yates, et. al., 2010)

1 2005 ‘A Rapid Review of the Literature on the Association Between Nutrition and School Pupil Performance’
2 Perry 2012 ‘Household Incomes in New Zealand’
3 2011 ‘Does socio-economic background affect reading performance?’ OECD page 2.
4 July 2011 ‘Our hungry kids: 40,000 NZ kids fed by charities’ NZherald
5 July 2011 ‘Our hungry kids: 40,000 NZ kids fed by charities’ NZherald
6 25/05/2011 J. Sutton ‘Breakfast may be off menu’
7 28/06/2012 ‘Question for Written Answer 5025(2012)’ Parliament
8 KidsCan 2011 Annual Report
9 July 2012 School Roll, Ministry of Education
10 August 2012 ‘Education Solutions to Mitigate Child Poverty’ Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty pg.14
11 2011 ‘Hunger for Learning’ Child Poverty Action Group Pg.37.
12 Compiled by Child Poverty Action Group 2011 ‘Hunger for Learning’
Authorised by David Shearer, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Inquiry Into One Case Of Dirty Politics

Suddenly, we’re awash in inquiries and reviews. (It feels almost as if the Greens won the last election.) Caught out by the damning inquiry by SIS Inspector-General Cheryl Gwyn, the government’s response yesterday was utterly in character – it released two other major reports at the same time to try and distract public attention...

Inquiries are supposed to re-assure the public. What these inquiry outcomes share in common is a government culture of zero responsibility. More>>

IGIS ON SIS:

 
 

Parliament Today:

Temporary Release Crackdown Continues: Corrections Review Of Phillip Smith Case

“The review by Corrections’ Chief Custodial Officer reveals that the plan for Smith’s series of temporary releases was overly ambitious and misinformed. He’s a highly manipulative and deceptive person who although technically eligible, should not have been considered for temporary release." More>>

ALSO:

White Ribbon Day: Govt Resumes Sexual Violence Trial Proceedings Work

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked the Law Commission to resume work on proposals for better supporting victims of sexual violence through the criminal process. The Law Commission will revisit its previous work on alternative pre-trial and trial processes to identify options for improving complainants’ experience in court. More>>

ALSO:

"New Faces, Wise Heads": Andrew Little Announces New Labour Line Up

Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Rick Ellis As Te Papa’s New CEO

The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial goals as he did at TVNZ, while similarly neglecting the serious cultural side of his mandate. More>>

Passport Cancellation, Surveillance: Draft 'Foreign Fighters Legislation' Released

The final draft of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill contains proposals previously announced by Mr Key in a major national security speech earlier this month. More>>

ALSO:

Related

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014... More>>

ALSO:

Savings Targets: Health Procurement Plan Changes Direction

Next steps in implementing DHB shared services programme Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has agreed to explore a proposal put forward by DHBs to move implementation of the shared services programme to a DHB-owned vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

More on Health Policy:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news