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School breakfast programme and student loan repayments

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Free School Meals, Funding, Higher Education, Holidays, School food, Uncategorized, Universities

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the Department’s announcement about expanding the National School Breakfast programme. The blog also looks at news coverage of changes to the student loan repayment system.

Breakfast programme expansion

On Saturday, 4 January, the Department for Education announced the extension of the National School Breakfast programme for another year, running until March 2021, as well as the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme for summer 2020.

The National School Breakfast programme is designed to kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in disadvantaged areas, including Opportunity Areas. The clubs ensure that disadvantaged children receive a healthy start to the school day, and can also boost their attendance, behaviour and attainment.

The announcement was covered positively by the I (p14), Mirror (p12), Daily Mail (p44), Sun (p14), Schools Week and TES. It was also covered on broadcast by BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio Wiltshire.

Lord Agnew was quoted throughout the coverage.

Schools Minister Lord Agnew said:

We want every child to lead a healthy, active and happy lifestyle regardless of their background. That’s why we are giving thousands more children in disadvantaged areas the opportunity to attend a breakfast club, which will help boost attendance, behaviour and attainment, helping them to achieve their best in school.

Where I want children to succeed, I also want them to grow up happy and confident, ready to take on challenges. Investing in enriching, rewarding summer activities next year will help keep them active and encourage them to get involved in their communities.

Student loans

On Saturday, 4 January, the Telegraph reported on changes to the student loan repayment system, being made to prevent overpayments. The story has previously been covered by The Times, The Independent and BBC Online.

The piece reports on the introduction of a new online system, which will be up and running this year. The piece quotes the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, saying the move will make it easier for students to understand and manage their loans, and Universities Minister Chris Skidmore.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

Student loans can remain part of graduates’ lives for many years, so it’s only right we do all we can to improve the system for them. These changes will make it easier for students to understand their balance, manage their loan and avoid over-repaying.

The student loan system helps make sure anyone with the drive and desire to benefit from our world-leading universities can do so, and it’s right we invest in that system so it works for students and taxpayers.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

With more and more people enjoying the benefits of a university education, it's only right that graduates have easy access to the information they need about repaying their student loan.

The Government is investing in the student loans system to make it as simple and easy for people to use as possible. I urge all graduates to use this new service and to join the direct debit scheme as they approach the end of their loan to ensure a smooth end and not repay more than they should.

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