New Shepparton school included in breakfast program

By Ashlea Witoslawski

An expansion of the Victorian Govenrment's School Breakfast Clubs Program will include Greater Shepparton's newest secondary school in the first half of 2020.

Based on Student Family Occupation Education index data, all students across the four campuses will have access to a healthy breakfast before school, with the most vulnerable students also given lunch.

Currently servicing 500 primary schools, the state government has committed $58 million to continue the program, doubling the number of schools to include more primary schools as well as secondary, P-12 and specialist schools from 2019 to 2023.

The program also includes holiday food supplies for students in need and potential meal preparation and nutrition courses for families.

A Department of Education and Training spokesperson said the program was independently organised by schools, with meals often prepared by volunteers, parents or staff, and served at a time that suited best.

According to Victoria University's Evaluation of the School Breakfast Clubs Program, Final Report, 95 per cent of teachers noticed an improvement in student concentration and 85 per cent noted a positive impact on the academic outcomes of students who attended breakfast club.

Some 92 per cent of teachers reported breakfast clubs had a positive impact on promoting a healthy environment in their school, with 85 per cent seeing an increase in attendance and punctuality.

“This important support will help to provide stability for families experiencing disadvantage,” Education Minister James Merlino said.

“We know that students can’t learn properly on an empty stomach.”


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