A few months ago, Social Service Providers Aotearoa asked me to review the literature on school breakfast programmes and provide an assessment of whether public funding of school breakfast programmes offered value for money. I spoke on the issue in Wellington and in Christchurch in February. As the government seems to be looking at the Mana Party's proposals around food in schools, it seems worth posting things here as summary.
- School breakfast programmes really don't seem to increase the likelihood of that kids eat breakfast at all;
- To the extent that they improve outcomes in some studies, we really can't tell:
- whether the effect is from changing the timing of breakfast, in which case we should instead have a morning tea break;
- whether the effect is any better than just giving those families an equivalent cash transfer.