More Victorian students will be able to learn on a full stomach with a re-elected Andrews Labor Government to expand the school breakfast program as well as providing free school lunches to 1,000 schools.

One in seven kids arrive at school with an empty stomach, making it hard for them to pay attention in class and get the most out of their education.

That’s why the Andrews Labor Government launched School Breakfast Clubs, which currently provides free breakfast to 50,000 kids in 500 Victorian primary schools every week, but there is more to do.

Labor will expand this into a new program that will serve up a free, healthy breakfast and lunch to students at 1,000 government primary and secondary schools every day.

The new lunch program will mainly consist of sandwiches, soup, fruit and vegetables. Similar, to the School Breakfast Clubs, Labor will work with Foodbank to include locally sourced food.

In addition to introducing school lunches, Labor will also provide school holiday backpacks with breakfast supplies to students in need and deliver a series of cooking masterclasses at 100 schools to impart nutritional and meal preparation education to disadvantaged families. This will help make sure that even outside of school, students are getting a more nutritious diet.

It is estimated that around 10 per cent of children who attend breakfast clubs also come to school with nothing packed for lunch. Often staff will pay for lunch for kids to make sure they have something to eat.

Research has shown that since the school breakfast program started, eight out of ten teachers have seen improved student concentration in the classroom, while seven out of ten teachers have noted improved attendance and eight out of ten teachers said they now had better relationships with their students.

This expansion will make sure that those kids who need it most can get through to home-time on a full stomach.

In contrast, the former Liberal Government cut the Education Maintenance Allowance, which in some schools was supporting local breakfast clubs. All this did was hurt students. Victorians recently saw what could be expected under the Liberals, with the Morrison Government threatening funding cuts for the Foodbank Program.

Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“It’s hard to learn when you’re hungry and can’t concentrate in class – that’s why we set up free School Breakfast Clubs and only Labor will expand the program to provide two square meals a day to kids who need it.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“The Liberals cut Free Fruit Friday, leaving thousands of Victorian kids hungry and we know they’ll cut school programs again – cuts to breakfast clubs, cuts to the school uniform program and cuts to helping kids go on school camps and excursions.”

“School Breakfast Clubs have served up more than six million breakfasts to Victorian students around the state, and teachers are seeing the enormous difference it makes in class.”

Dan Andrewspolicy41