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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Free breakfast trial for pupils
Breakfast club at Dolau Primary School
Up to 40 children a day have breakfast at Dolau Primary School
Pupils in some of the poorest parts of Wales are to enjoy free breakfasts.

The prospect of free morning meals has been brought a step closer, with the Welsh Assembly Government announcing that every primary school child will get a free meal by September 2006.

Education Minister Jane Davidson said she wanted to ensure that all children were able to get the very best out of school - but the news has angered one of the main teaching unions, which wants education funding spent solely on education.

A pilot project is about to get under way ahead of the scheme being rolled out across Wales. Around 11,000 children living in the poorest parts of Wales will take part.

Nine authorities including Ynys Mon, Merthyr Tydfil, and Pembrokeshire, will take part in the trial.

Breakfast clubs are not a new initiative, but until now they have been subsidised by schools themselves or through grants from organisations including the National Lottery.

Research has shown that schools which do provide pupils with breakfast have seen attendance levels rise and had fewer problems with discipline.

The NASUWT union, however, has condemned the scheme.

It says parents should be responsible for ensuring that their children are fed before they go to school.

Its opinion is that the money should be spent instead on retaining teachers who face redundancy because of budget constraints.

Union secretary Geraint Davies dismissed the plan as a gimmick which would allow some parents to shirk their responsibilities.

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

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