A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46



380 children, or 49% of those who wrote essays on school meals, did not actually take them. They spoke therefore only from hearsay, and not from experience. Their comments were analysed in the same way as those of the children who do take the meals. The results of this analysis are shown in the next table.

Table 4

Comments of children not taking school meals

Unfavourable to school meals preferring home meals Favourable to school meals
% % %
Complaints about food quantity, quality. 59 Meals at home better in quality and quantity 37 Food well cooked. 18
Complaints about service 16 Service better. 4 Service good. 5
Complaints about atmosphere. 17 Home atmosphere 21 Atmosphere nice. 11
Miscellaneous 9 Live near home. 17 To far to go home for some children. 18
TOTAL COMMKENTS 576 Mother at home. 13 For children whose mothers work. 12
Miscellaneous 5 Helps ration, fuel etc. 14
TOTAL COMMENTS 644 Cheap, good value. 16
Miscellaneous 7

If this table is compared with table 2 on page 3, it will be seen that the results are very similar. The main numerical difference lies in the number of remarks about quantity of food – the children who have no actual experience talk less about this then those who have. Otherwise, however, the arguments of both groups follow each other closely, with the exception that the arguments: “No need to take school meals because mother at home”, and “Because I live near to the school” are put forward by the children who do not take the meals.

That both groups of children express their attitudes to school meals in such similar terms suggests that they influence each other’s opinion; but it is also evident, from their actual remarks, that children, especially those who do not take school meals, are strongly influenced by the opinions of their parents.

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