The Feeding of School Children
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Title: The Feeding of School Children
Author: M. E. (Mildred Emily) Bulkley
Release Date: June 12, 2018 [eBook #57313]
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The Feeding of School Children
The Ratan Tata Foundation
Honorary Director: Professor L. T. Hobhouse, M.A., D.Lit.Honorary Secretary: Professor E. J. Urwick, M.A.Director: Mr. R. H. Tawney, B.A.Secretary: Miss M. E. Bulkley, B.Sc.
The Ratan Tata Foundation has been instituted in orderto promote the study and further the knowledge of methods ofpreventing and relieving poverty and destitution. For thefurtherance of this purpose the Foundation conducts inquiriesinto wages and the cost of living, methods of preventing anddiminishing unemployment, measures affecting the health andwell-being of workers, public and private agencies for the reliefof destitution, and kindred matters. The results of its principalresearches will be published in pamphlet or book form; it willalso issue occasional notes on questions of the day under theheading of "Memoranda on Problems of Poverty." In additionto these methods of publishing information, the Officers of theFoundation will, as far as is in their power, send replies to individualinquiries relating to questions of poverty and destitution,their causes, prevention and relief, whether at home or abroad.Such inquiries should be addressed to the Secretary of the RatanTata Foundation, School of Economics, Clare Market, Kingsway,W.C. The Officers are also prepared to supervise the work ofstudents wishing to engage in research in connection with problemsof poverty. Courses of Lectures will also be given from timeto time, which will be open to the Public.
"Some Notes on the Incidence of Taxation on the Working-classFamily."
By F. W. Kolthammer, M.A. 6d.
"The Health and Physique of School Children."
By Arthur Greenwood, B.Sc. 1s.
vi"Poverty as an Industrial Problem": an Inaugural Lecture.
By R. H. Tawney, B.A. 6d.
"Studies in the Minimum Wage."
No. 1. The Establishment of Minimum Rates in the Chain-makingIndustry under the Trade Boards Act of 1909.
By R. H. Tawney, B.A. 1s. 6d. net.
"The Feeding of School Children."
By Miss M. E. Bulkley, B.A., B.Sc. 3s. 6d. net.
To Appear Shortly
"Studies in the Minimum Wage."
No. 2. The Establishment of Minimum Rates in the TailoringTrade.
By R. H. TAWNEY, B.A.
In the collection of the material on which the followingpages are based I have received assistance from so manypersons that it is impossible to thank them all individually.I gratefully acknowledge the unfailing courtesy of officialsof Local Education Authorities, School Medical Officers,secretaries of Care Committees and many others, whohave always been most ready to supply me with informationas to the working of the Provision of Meals Act,and to show me the Feeding Centres. My thanks aredue especially to the students of the Social ScienceDepartment of the School of Economics, who have assistedin collecting and arranging the material, especially toMiss Ruth Giles, Miss A. L. Hargrove, and Miss P. M.Bisgood, the first chapter being very largely the workof Miss Giles; Mrs. Leslie Mackenzie, Mr. I. H. Cunningham,Miss Cecil Young and Mrs. F. H. Spencer havealso kindly collected local information. I am greatlyindebted to Mr. R. H. Tawney for much valuable adviceand co-operation, and to Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb andDr. Kerr for reading through the proofs. I should addthat the enquiry was made during the course of the year1913 and the account of the provision made refers tothat date.
M. E. Bulkley.
|Introduction by R. H. Tawney||xi|
|Chapter I. The History of the Movement for the Provision of School Meals||1|
|Provision by Voluntary Agencies—The Organisation of the Voluntary Agencies—The demand for State provision—Provision by the Guardians—The Education (Provision of Meals) Act.|
|Chapter II. The Administration of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act||50|
|The adoption of the Act—Canteen Committees, their constitution and functions—The selection of the children—The preparation and service of the meals—The provision of meals during the holidays—The provision for paying children and recovery of the cost—Overlapping between the Poor Law and the Education Authorities—The provision of meals at Day Industrial Schools and at Special Schools—The underfed child in rural schools—Conclusions.|
|xChapter III. The Provision of Meals in London||131|
|The organisation of Voluntary Agencies—The assumption of responsibility by the County Council—The extent of the provision—The Care Committee—The provision for paying children—The service of the meals—Overlapping with the Poor Law Authority—Appendix (Examples of feeding centres).|
|Chapter IV. The Extent and Causes of Malnutrition||170|
|Chapter V. The Effect of School Meals on the Children||184|
|Chapter VI. The Effect on the Parents||202|
|Chapter VII. Conclusions||219|
|Appendix I.—Examples of Menus||231|
|Appendix II.—The Provision of Meals in Scotland||237|
|Appendix III.—The Provision of Meals Abroad||249|
The Provision of Meals for School Children, which isthe subject of the following pages, is still undergoingthat process of tentative transformation from a privatecharity to a public service by which we are accustomedto disguise the assumption of new responsibilities bythe State. Begun in the 'sixties of the nineteenth centuryas a form of philanthropic effort, and denounced fromtime to time as socialistic and subversive of family life,it first attracted serious public attention when the SouthAfrican war made the physical defects caused by starvation,which had been regarded with tolerance in citizens,appear intolerable in soldiers, and was canvassed atsome length in the well-known reports of the RoyalCommission on Physical Training in Scotland and of theInter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration.The first disposition of the authorities was, as usual,to recur to that maid-of-all-work, the Poor Law, andin April, 1905, the Relief (School Children) Order empoweredthe Guardians to grant relief to the child of anable-bodied man without requiring him to enter theworkhouse or to perform the outdoor labour test, providedthat they took steps to recover the cost. The Guardians,however, perhaps happily, had little sympathy for thisdeviation from the principle of deterrence, with theresult that the new Order was in most places either notapplied or applied with insignificant results. Theconsequence was that the attempt to make the provisionof meals for school children part of the Poor Law wasxiiabandoned. In 1906 the Education (Provision of Meals)Act was passed empowering Local Education Authoritiesto provide food, either in co-operation with voluntaryagencies or out of public funds, up to the limit of ahalf-penny rate. In the year 1911-12, out of 322authorities, 131 were returned as making some provisionfor the feeding of school children.
The object of Miss Bulkley's monograph is to describewhat that provision is, how adequate or inadequate,how systematic or haphazard, and to examine its effecton the welfare both of the children concerned, and ofthe general community. The present work is, therefore,complementary to Mr. Greenwood's Health and Physiqueof School Children, which was recently published by theRatan Tata Foundation, and which gave an exhaustivedescription of the conditions of school children in respectof health as revealed by the reports of School MedicalOfficers. That the subject with which Miss Bulkleydeals is one of the first importance, few, whatever viewsmay be held as to the Act of 1906, will be found to deny.Almost all the medical authorities who have made astudy of the health and physique of school childrenare unanimous that a capital cause of ill-health amongthem is lack of the right kind of food. "Defectivenutrition," states Sir George Newman, "stands in theforefront as the most important of all physical defectsfrom which school children suffer.... From apurely scientific point of view, if there was one thinghe was allowed to do for the six million children if hewanted to rear an imperial race, it would be to feedthem.... The great, urgent, pressing need wasnutrition. With that they could get better brains anda better race." "Apart from infectious diseases,"said Dr. Collie before the Inter-Departmental Committeeon Physical Deterioration, "malnutrition is accountablexiiifor nine-tenths of child sickness." "Food," Dr.Eichholz told the same body, "is at the base of all theevils of child degeneracy." "The sufficient feeding ofchildren," declared Dr. Niven, the Medical Officer ofHealth for Manchester, "is by far the most importantthing to attend to." "To educate underfed children,"said Dr. Leslie Mackenzie, "is to promote deteriorationof physique by exhausting the nervous system. Educationof the underfed is a positive evil." What doctorsunderstand by malnutrition is what the plain man callsstarvation; and while it is, of course, due to other causesbesides actual inability to procure sufficient food, theexperience of those authorities which have undertakenthe provision of meals in a thorough and systematicmanner suggests that these statements as to the prevalenceof malnutrition or starvation are by no means exaggerations.To say, as has recently been said by a writerof repute in the Economic Journal, "already 40,000children are fed weekly at the schools without appreciablyimproving the situation," is