tu ents fruit lea ays off
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.