Veteran Harlow Labour councillor backs breakfast clubs

Politics / Sun 20th Nov 2022 at 11:41am

AS part of our series on what Labour councillors think of the (fully costed) Labour Party plans, policies and proposals, we have been speaking to a number of Harlow councillors.

Today, councillor Jean Clark discusses breakfast clubs.

Cllr Clark said:

As a primary school governor, I first encountered the introduction of breakfast clubs many years ago. The impact was spectacular. One child scoffed 10 slices of bread and butter, he was so hungry.  Staff commented on the calming effect in lessons and improvement in learning.

Now, schools vary, but some have widened opportunities considerably, to help working parents. For example, breakfast clubs before school and then after- ‘wrap-around provision’ up to 5.45. Children can be very active outside, followed by a sustainable breakfast of begels, cereals, toast with milk and fresh fruit. After school they might have lasagne, sausages or jacket potatoes, for example. They can be helped with homework. Various seasonal activities engage children supported by fully trained support staff, with volunteers.

The advantages are enormous. Children extend their social skills associated with eating and more informal school life; companionship; regular sustaining meals, vital for more disadvantaged children with a positive impact on learning. Parents, especially women and single-parent families can make their contribution to the economy.

The crucial phrase is ‘fully funded’.  Government funding is very limited.  Once, every primary school child had a bottle of milk each morning until Margaret Thatcher withdrew it (Margaret Thatcher, the ‘milk-snatcher’)- a loss of universal provision, shared by all, regardless of social background.  Schools cannot provide extended child care, however valuable, without funding.  We’ve seen the battles to even get the extension of free school meals in the holidays.

We need to invest far more in general in education, but also to provide beneficial breakfast clubs and after school care to meet the needs of all children.  And why not invest in our children for their future- and ours?

Jean Clark.

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4 Comments for Veteran Harlow Labour councillor backs breakfast clubs:

2022-11-20 16:46:27

Maybe throw in a few beds as well and call it a boarding school. No need for parental interference at all then, especially if they are poor and cannot afford or don’t know how to bring up their own children. Oops I think I see a can of worms!

David Forman
2022-11-20 17:25:13

Nicely put point of view by Jean Clark. However, would she agree that if Labour had not abandoned the principles contained in the 1945 Labour Manifesto, Let Us Face the Future, we would not need breakfast clubs? See for yourself the 1945 Labour manifesto: https://web.archive.org/web/20130315015558/http://www.labour-party.org.uk/manifestos/1945/1945-labour-manifesto.shtml

2022-11-20 19:23:35

Jean is a caring devoted lady who has faught many causes over the years but there are too many fights now, the country is well and truly broken, every aspect of life is in tatters and getting worse, this government have systematicly ruined society, which will never recover. Is there anything in this country which is doing well. Answers on a postcard please.

2022-11-21 20:08:33

Schools need to have youth workers working to run youth club kind of provision and sharing the premises through the day and the facilities with the community at weekends and evenings. In other words all schools should be Community Schools. This would also help justify funding for better facilities such as swimming pools, sports halls and pitches.

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