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

More Rent Assisstance, Less State-Owned Housing:
John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider.

The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.

It was hard work but in the end we kept more than 300 skilled and well-paid jobs in New Zealand. And we managed to benefit Air New Zealand and its workforce with productivity gains too... More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news