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‘Secondary teachers urge David Seymour to get a reality check on school lunches’

Secondary teachers are urging Associate Education Minister David Seymour to visit some of the schools currently offering free healthy lunches, so he can get a more informed picture.

“The Associate Minister says the programme could be more efficient and seems intent on making severe cuts to it,” says PPTA Te Wehengarua President Chris Abercrombie.

“However, schools that I’m aware of, say none of the food goes to waste and they way in which it is delivered has significant benefits.”

Secondary principals have told PPTA that there has been a noticeable improvement in student behaviour as a result of the healthy lunch programme.

“They say there has been a significant decrease in the numbers of entries recorded into student behaviour management systems during lunch and after lunch, which means that students are less disruptive and more ready to learn.”

Chris Abercrombie said teachers strongly discouraged any moves to target the programme to those who needed it the most.

“The fact that everyone in the school is part of the lunch programme means there is no stigma attached to it. If it’s targeted, you can guarantee that kids will feel ashamed to access it – and many won’t.”

Another significant benefit of the programme was the local employment it generated in many communities. “This government says it is determined to get people into work – and this programme does.

“Again, we would urge Mr Seymour to go to some schools in Porirua or South Auckland and talk to teachers and ākonga about the programme, and the benefits of it, before he makes any decisions about it.”


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