Four out of five UK adults (79%) think children should have access to free or subsidised milk at schools and nurseries, according to recent polling.

The School and Nursery Milk Alliance (SNMA) commissioned a poll of 2,156 adults across the UK to understand opinion on the importance of school milk provision to coincide with World School Milk Day today (Wednesday, September 27).

While support for milk in school spread nationwide, it is particularly strong in Wales, with 89% believing the government should continue to provide free or subsidised milk for kids at school and nurseries.

Pupils in key stage one (ages 5-7) in Wales already have access to free milk in education through the school milk subsidy scheme, whereas milk is just subsidised in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Plant-based milks are not covered by this scheme.

According to the SNMA, uptake of school milk schemes post-Covid-19 is low.

Jon Thornes, chair of SNMA, is encouraging “all UK nations” to follow Wales and do more to ensure that as many children as possible are able to drink healthy milk at schools or nursery.

L-R: Zuzanna Abakumeic, Darragh Downey and Brooklyn Osaze from class P3 at St. Matthew’s Primary School, Belfast celebrate World School Milk Day

“We urge the government to do all it can to ensure that as many education settings are signed up to the available milk schemes so that as many children as possible are able to drink healthy milk at school or nursery,” he added.

Supporting this drive and World School Milk Day, TV doctor and author Hilary Jones added:

“World School Milk Day 2023 is the perfect opportunity for the government to ensure that schools and nurseries across the UK are aware of the different schemes that exist.

“The government must encourage them to sign up to ensure that millions of children across the country can drink free healthy milk when at school. “