tu ents fruit lea ays off

Central Leader - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

Writ­ing let­ters to save the Fruit in Schools pro­gramme has paid off for Te Pa­papa Pri­mary School.

Pupils at the decile two school wrote to Health Min­is­ter Tony Ryall fol­low­ing his an­nounce­ment in Fe­bru­ary that the ser­vice would be cut.

Com­ments in­cluded “ f stu­dents don’t have lunch then they can have fruit for their lunch,” and “my sis­ter got sick without eat­ing fruit so it’s so im­por­tant to eat fruit”.

The de­ci­sion has now been re­viewed and the pro­gramme will con­tinue mi­nus a large pro­por­tion of the ad­min­is­tra­tive com­po­nent.

Mr Ryall says it was ex­pected that af­ter three years of fund­ing it would be up to schools to pick it up them­selves.

“We’ve de­cided to ex­tend the Fruit in Schools pro­gramme for all ual­i­fy­ing low-decile schools, but we will no longer pay for provider staff to over­see the pro­gramme nor will the pro­gramme fund teacher release time,” he says.

“Fruit in Schools will now be­come part of the Health Pro­mot­ing Schools pro­gramme run by district health boards, and this will save more than $ mil­lion a year.”

He says the Health Min­istry started the three-year pi­lot pro­gramme in 2005 and last year’s pro­gramme cost $12m, with just over half spent on fruit.

The pro­gramme also en­cour­ages health through phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, sun pro­tec­tion and be­ing smoke-free.

Te Pa­papa Pri­mary prin­ci­pal Robyn Curry says she is thrilled the gov­ern­ment has de­cided to ex­tend the pro­gramme with more money go­ing on fruit and less on bu­reau­cracy.

“Hope­fully the let­ters the stu­dents sent had some im­pact,” she says.

Mrs Curry says stu­dents have en­joyed re­ceiv­ing fruit and for some, it may be the only fruit they get.

She says it will give the school more time to es­tab­lish its own fruit trees and Matariki gar­den, which al­ready pro­vides veg­eta­bles for the school com­mu­nity.

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