YOUNGSTERS across Fylde and Wyre could miss out on subsidised school milk after council bosses scrapped the service.
Changes to the way funding is given to schools means headteachers are now facing difficult decision over the future of the morning milk-time tradition as money once handed to Lancashire County Council to provide milk is now given directly to primary schools – without being ringfenced.
This means schools will have to find their own private sector supplier, raising fears some could scrap milk for children altogether.
But many headteachers across the area today said they were yet to make a definite decision on the future of milk provision.
Janet Hornby, headteacher at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School, in St Annes, said: “We’re going to carry on with it for this year then evaluate it at the end of the year. We’ll look at cost to school and parents, and the benefits.”
Carolyn Vickers, headteacher at Lytham Hall Park School in South Park, Lytham, said: “The school is disappointed in the Government’s and Lancashire County Council’s decision to delegate the provision of milk for our children to school. We are going to have to look into alternatives and consult parents before deciding how to proceed.”
Margaret Wright, headteacher at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, in Wesham, said: “We haven’t actually made a firm decision.”
The cost of providing school milk in Lancashire this year is estimated to be around £1m.
Of this, around a third is reclaimed in milk subsidy grants from the Government, about a third comes from parental contributions and the final third is met by the council to subsidise parental contribution and allow free milk for under-fives and those on free school meals.
As it stands, free milk will still be provided for those under five, but other primary-age children could miss out.
Some are confident they will continue to provide the drink.
Rachel Legge, headteacher at Clifton Primary School in St Annes, said: “We’ll be carrying it on - we think it’s of benefit for children’s health.”
Lancashire County Council has given guidance to schools on providers.
Mike Hart, Lancashire County Council’s director for school resources, said: “We will no longer be distributing milk but have given schools the names of contractors who they can contract with to ensure a continued supply at a comparable price.
“These arrangements don’t apply to nursery schools, as the full cost of school milk for under-fives can be reclaimed in milk grants.”