School Milk

Is your under-5 missing out on free school milk?

Did you know that all children under the age of five are entitled to free milk whilst at nursery or school, regardless of the parents’ financial circumstances?
According to recent School Milk research* although the majority of parents recognise the health benefits of milk, most are unaware of their child’s entitlement to free milk while at nursery or school.

The research showed that although parents understood the health benefits of milk, with strong teeth and bones, a good source of vitamins and proteins and strengthening the immune system at the top of their list, half the parents spoken to said they hadn’t given much thought to milk being available for their child while at school.

When the researchers discussed the school milk scheme, many parents said they valued the social benefits of children sitting down together to enjoy a carton of chilled milk, learning about manners, sharing and perhaps enjoying a story. They also welcomed the energy boost for their child at that vital time between breakfast and lunch.

Nurseries and schools can provide free school milk to their under-5s through school milk schemes, such as those run by Cool Milk.

School Milk – What Parents Think

* More than 400 parents took part in the Cool Milk online research carried out in March 2011, with more joining in forum discussion groups. They told us:

• 76% of parents voted for health as the number one reason for children to drink school milk.

• When asked to list the benefits of school milk, parents chose a range of reasons: 60% placed strong teeth and bones at the top of the list of benefits of school milk; 31% pointed to a good source of vitamins; 26% a good source of protein; 25% that it strengthens the immune system and 19% listed the social benefit of children sitting down together while drinking and eating.

• Parents said that children who don’t drink milk at home will do at school because of the influence of their friends.

• Parents of fussy eaters said school milk was a good way to get them to have a healthy drink.

School Milk – Monitor The Facts:

• The Department of Health makes it possible for all children under five to receive one third of a pint of milk (189ml) each day. All under-fives are entitled to free school milk when they attend an approved day care or nursery school, for two hours or more.

• The European Union subsidises school milk to all children over the age of five throughout their primary education.

• Local authorities are not obligated to provide school milk subsidies to children over five, but if they choose to do so the milk must be free to those pupils who also receive free school meals. Please check with your local authority as to the specifics regarding their school milk schemes.

For more information on the free school milk schemes your child is entitled to visit

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