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Tes focus on… School dinners

Timetable pressures have eaten into the traditional lunch hour in many schools, but the break should be preserved, argues academic Gurpinder Singh Lalli. He tells Zofia Niemtus that mealtimes provide an important opportunity to develop the social skills students will need to succeed in later life

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What is the purpose of a school lunch break? Is it simply about getting enough calories into staff and students so that they can make it to the end of the day?

The way that school lunchtimes have evolved in many schools over recent decades certainly seems to suggest that lunch is all about “fuel”. The traditional lunch hour has been gradually eroded, usually on the grounds that a reduced break minimises behavioural issues. In 2007, a survey found that half of secondary schools did not offer students a full 60 minutes for lunch and 13 per cent gave only 30 minutes. In one school in the US, a ...

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