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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 16:51 GMT
Breakfast already part of school day
Breakfast club at Dolau Primary School
Up to 40 children a day have breakfast at Dolau Primary School
Dolau Primary School at Llanharan in south Wales has had breakfast on the curriculum for five years

Kitchen staff come in early to provide children with toast, jam and fruit with a choice of drinks - orange juice, tea or milk. It costs each child 30 pence.

Head teacher Gareth Evans said: "We felt there were a number of children coming to school without adequate breakfast...we felt there was a need to provide them with nourishment in the morning.

"It's been very successful. We have up to 35 to 40 children from the ages of three to 11.

"More parents would use the service if it was free, because they can also drop their kids off earlier."

The children who use the breakfast club at Dolau are just as enthusiastic.

Head teacher Gareth Evans
Head teacher Gareth Evans says his staff support the breakfast club
Eleven-year-old Jamie said it meant he no longer skipped breakfast, and the club also had other benefits: "We come here and play games and play with our friends - and the toast is nice."

His classmate, 11-year-old Catrin said it gave her a good start to the day with a proper breakfast - and put less pressure on her mother in the mornings: "It's very busy with my mum running around getting my brother dressed for school."

The head teacher at Dolau said his staff had been very supportive of the scheme - and that sentiment has been echoed by the teaching unions in Wales.

Quality

However, there are concerns about the practicalities.

Our main worry is that profit will take over and nutrition will be sacrificed
Paul Elliott, UNISON
Moelwen Gwyndaf from the teaching union UCAC said his main concern would be that the the money would come from Wales' education budget - something which the assembly government has denied.

Meanwhile the union representing school meals staff, UNISON, has welcomed the initiative, but said the quality of breakfasts was of utmost importance.

"We believe the issue of quality must be strictly regulated and provided by the local authority's own catering workforce," said UNISON's Paul Elliott.

"The issue of pay and hours will have to be discussed...obviously they will have to be paid more.

"Our main worry is that profit will take over and nutrition will be sacrificed," Mr Elliott added.


SEE ALSO:
Free breakfasts in schools
11 Nov 03  |  Wales
Girls 'do better on breakfast'
29 Sep 03  |  Northern Ireland


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