A balanced breakfast

7th October 2005 at 01:00
We write in response to your front-page article, "Needy miss out on free cereals - only 'motivated' parents bother with breakfast offer", (TESCymru, September 23).

The headline and tone of the article gave a misleading impression of the research report on which it was based.

The Assembly government has commissioned our team at the Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Ethics to conduct an independent evaluation of the implementation and impact of the primary school free breakfast initiative.

The recently-published preliminary report was based on interviews with central, local government and school staff involved with the operation of the scheme. It focused on experiences of the scheme's initial implementation and views on its future development.

As independent researchers, we aimed to present a balanced report of the interviews. As acknowledged in your article, feedback was generally positive. It is unclear how anyone who has read it could conclude that it is "a damning report".

We did voice some concerns, and we will particularly focus on these in the on-going evaluation. This innovative scheme requires objective study and an open and fair debate. We encourage readers to view the preliminary report themselves, and to reserve judgement about the scheme until the completion of the full evaluation, which addresses both the implementation and impact of the scheme over 12 months.

We urge the media not to misrepresent the evidence.

Professor Laurence Moore Director

Dr Simon Murphy Senior research fellow Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Ethics Cardiff university 53 Park Place, Cardiff

Editor's comment: one of the report's recommendations is that more should be done to encourage the neediest children to take up free school breakfasts. The authors have confirmed that TES Cymru's story about the free breakfasts evaluation is factually accurate.

www.learning.wales.gov.ukbreakfast

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