An education in eating

By | News & Politics
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after announcing his plans. Credit @labourparty via Facebook.

Recently, Jeremy Corbyn announced his desire to provide complimentary school meals for all primary school children, in an attempt to ensure all pupils may be able to eat a hot meal a day. Currently, all students qualify for a meal through Key Stage One, yet after year two children become eligible predominantly due to their parent’s income. Yet, Corbyn seems to be aiming to extend this privilege to all students, which may suggest he is attempting to provide equality for all, in turn setting the precedent for the rest of society. Furthermore, with Corbyn consistently utilising statistics which seem to support his claim of nutritious lunches elevating children’s concentration levels, he may be showcasing his ability as a conscientious leader, perhaps advancing his, and therefore Labour’s, overall goal of becoming the majority party in Britain.

In order to achieve his goal, Corbyn announced he may be looking to add VAT onto private school tuition fees in order to achieve his goal of universal benefits. In doing so, the Labour leader may be able to raise around £1 billion in funds which, when considering he has also stated his plans might cost in the region of £700-900 million, seems to prove they might be able to be implemented. In openly announcing the way in which he may attain the money, in addition to suggesting the predicted monetary incentives to realising the aims, he may be able to amass an increased level of support from the population, who may agree this goal may be achievable. As such, Corbyn may be showcasing his understanding of British politics, and how to amass a following, perhaps proving he possesses the necessary credentials to ultimately become a candidate for Number 10.

Providing complimentary school meals for all primary school attendees seems to have occurred before, with this policy championed by the Liberal Democrats during the tenure of Nick Clegg. It remains Lib Dem policy to extend this privilege to all pupils, yet Corbyn seems to have taken this a step further by documenting how he may achieve his intentions. In the speech revealing his promise, he seemed to focus on key terminology underpinning his general principle of universalism, which, when coupled with his public speaking ability, may resonate with the British public. In turn, he also seems to be thinking long-term as well as short-term, attempting to combat obesity; there may be assurances made which ensure these meals may be nutritious and healthy, perhaps impacting the rest of society as better performing students may act as the incentive for others to eat healthier.

Labour’s announcement showcasing children with their meals. Credit @UKLabour via Twitter.

Corbyn’s announcement seems to have been met with a vast level of backing, from both the general public, who may naturally be supportive of increased sustenance, along with people boasting high positions of power, and thus influence. Kevin Courtney, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, seemed to welcome Corbyn’s idea as he felt teachers often saw the impact hunger has on their pupils, with Russell Hobby, general secretary of the School Leaders’ Union, echoing this suggestion. This universal support may be due to the impacts of a hot meal in school being well documented; a 2012 report from Fiscal Studies concluded complimentary meals may lead to increased attainment, and referencing these studies in his speech, all of which seem to be easily accessible to the public, may unite the public further.

This announcement may suggest Corbyn is attempting to provide parity for all, which may instigate a snowball effect, as educating the public on the benefits in healthy eating for young pupils may enable increased levels of nutrition across Britain, providing further productive conclusions and acting as the catalyst in bringing society one step closer to equilibrium. Whilst therefore Corbyn may gain the plaudits for impacting students, he may be providing productive conclusions for the whole of the education system, most notably teachers; with students potentially amassing a higher quantity of qualifications as a result of increased concentration and attainment levels, it may contribute to increasing the funding for the education system, easing the pressure and thus enabling teachers to keep their jobs.

How may Corbyn’s announcement act as the catalyst in ensuring the whole education system achieves reform?

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