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Teachers turn milk-snatchers

MARGARET Thatcher was famously dubbed the Milk-Snatcher when she was Education Secretary and scrapped school milk. Now some teachers in Wales are denying their pupils the white stuff.

From February this year, the Welsh Assembly made free milk available to all children aged five to seven. But teachers say they are too busy to hand it out. Staff from the School Milk Research Project - launched in 1998 and funded by the Milk Development Council - have been visiting schools, encouraging them to distribute the milk and supplying fridges.

Project manager Barbara Griffiths said: "A lot of the schools know it is good for the kids but say they haven't got the time or the resources. Some claim it is too much hassle or they haven't got the staff. However, we think the response has been fairly positive, and we now have 43,000 kids drinking milk as part of the scheme. Wales is showing the way for the rest of the country."

Since the launch of the scheme, "milk facilitators" have visited 566 schools. They were unable to tell The TES how many have taken up the scheme, but Monmouthshire has been singled out for its reluctance, while Pembrokeshire and Caerphilly have been particularly enthusiastic.

An All Wales School Milk Research Project was launched yesterday at the National Assembly for Wales.

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