Keep making time for lunch

What’s that we hear? The grumbling of hungry tummies and the creaking of brains in need of a break?

Our Time for Lunch Month is coming to a close, and with it our survey to find out a bit more about your views on how much time children need for their lunch at school.

At the start of the month, we asked you to answer four quick questions about lunchtimes.

Big thanks to everyone who responded: it’s far from scientific, but it’s still a great insight!

Here’s what you told us:

• 47% of you who responded thought children need at least 20-30 minutes just for eating their lunch at school
• A whopping 66% of you reckon children need a full hour’s break to have enough time for eating lunch, taking part in activities or getting some down time before the afternoon lessons begin
• When it comes to your own lunch break, 28% of you said you took 20 minutes or less for lunch; 22% of you only took ten minutes or less. A few of you weren’t getting any time for lunch at all.

It’s food for thought when you consider that in our survey of teachers about time for lunch by the National Foundation for Education Research:

• Only 38% of teachers from secondary schools said their school gives pupils 50 minutes or more for their lunchbreak
• Just under a quarter of teachers from secondary schools (24%) said their school gives their pupils less than 40 minutes for lunchtime
• Nearly a quarter of teachers across all schools (23%) had seen lunchtime get shorter at their school in the last two years
• 9% of primary teachers and 15% of secondary teachers said it was likely that their school’s lunchtime would get shorter in future.

If your school’s thinking about making lunchtime shorter, talk to us first. In secondary schools, there may well be other things that will help you manage big numbers of pupils through your dining room without cutting the length of the break, from mobile serving stations to staggered breaks to specialist equipment. In primary schools, there are also  things you can try first that will help to make better use of the existing time you allow. Here’s just one example that might work for your primary school – worth a try before you resort to looking at the clock.

It seems most of us agree that time for a decent break at lunchtime is important – whatever your age. Maybe it’s time to put our money where our mouths are…

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