AN ambitious £700,000 scheme to provide up to 12,000 primary school children in Blackpool with free breakfasts gets underway today.
Schools have been preparing for the launch of the scheme which will see every child in the town aged four to 11 given breakfast, fruit juice and milk in the morning.
The council announced the initiative in November in a bid to improve attendance, behaviour and standards in schools.
Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “A great deal of hard work has been carried out to help schools to prepare for the introduction of this revolutionary new pilot scheme.
“We have been working closely with schools to help deal with the logistics of providing breakfasts for so many children.
“We now have a wide ranging menu designed which gives enough choice and flexibility to cater for all tastes and provide healthy choices for pupils.
“I am looking forward to seeing the pilot progress and seeing this innovative policy become a reality.”
The three-month pilot scheme is being paid for out of the leisure and operations department, which covers school catering, with the money being “re-prioritised” from other council services.
If the trial is a success, the scheme could be extended to secondary schools.
The council is seeking other funding sources for the free breakfasts, including the possibility of sponsorship.
Different food will be offered on the breakfast menu throughout the pilot scheme including bagels, cereal bars or toast.
Neil Hodgkins, headteacher at Devonshire Primary School, Blackpool, said the scheme was a good idea.
He said: “It will help their overall wellbeing.
“It is about getting children to school on time, getting the day off to a good start and setting the standards for the rest of the day.”