Charles Joyce suggested " I thought we could do theme on the school milk , Perhaps the history when and why it was introduced in the 50s. I think it was stopped by Maggie Thatcher in the early seventies, 1/3 of a pint, at lunchtime , none at weekends. "
Charles says -
"When I started at the school in the winter of 1963, the bottles never arrived owing to bad weather (worst snow fall for decades, with high snow drifts,) frozen solid. Not only didn't the milk arrive nor did the post. Nothing much happened owing to the heavy snow, we were cut-off from the outside. Lessons carried on, hot meals served, a dedicated domestic staff kept things running.
To make our meals slightly more interesting, some lads bought a flavoured sugar mix called Nesquick which came in different flavours such as strawberry, banana, chocolate. This transformed them into a type of milk shake.
Herman Hermits recorded a song a bit later in 1966 called "No Milk Today” which kind of summed it up.
I think the main reason for the free milk was to improve the kids health. The calcium for bones and teeth. Mind you, the dentist undid all this by filling every kids teeth insight, because they were paid by the number of teeth they filled. I am of millions of adults who have all their teeth spoilt."
The 1944 Education Act provided for free milk - a third of a pint a day - in schools to all children in the United Kingdom under the age of 18 until 1968 when Harold Wilson’s Labour Government withdrew free milk from secondary schools. This policy was extended in 1971 when Margaret Thatcher (then secretary of state for education) withdrew free school milk from children over seven.
In 2010, the Telegraph questioned whether milk was ' good for us'. Their article read
" the label “milk snatcher” is deadly for a Tory politician, with its echoes of the attacks on Margaret Thatcher after she cut the ration in 1971. Yet there is something stranger at work – the unquestioning idea that milk is good for us. From Winston Churchill’s wartime order to keep the milk flowing, which was formalised under the 1946 School Milk Act, to Gordon Ramsay’s scowling demand on posters currently adorning London’s buses to “Make Mine Milk”, the idea that it is natural, healthy and an essential part of a good diet has been unchallenged."
They argued -
" In fact, there are strong arguments that giving cow’s milk to children is doing more harm than good. All of the nutrients in cow’s milk can be found elsewhere in a balanced diet. Although it is frequently cited as an important source of calcium for growing children, we can absorb only a third of the amount it contains due to the high levels of sodium, phosphorus and protein that are also present. Green vegetables – if children can be persuaded to eat them – are a much more efficient vehicle."
You can read the full article here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7949773/Free-school-milk-the-white-stuff-might-not-be-the-right-stuff.html
And from the BBC an article on the 1971 school cuts - http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/15/newsid_4486000/4486571.stm