Schools should ensure that children have enough to drink
Adequate hydration is a key factor towards improving the
performance and behaviour of children at school. Children aged 11
and above, should be drinking approximately two litres of fluid a
day. However data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey
suggest that 40% of 11-18 year olds are consuming less that the
Food Standards Agency's (FSA) minimum of 1.2 litres per day. The
'Drinking in Schools' report by the Expert Group on Hydration found
that pupils who were dehydrated during the school day suffered from
a loss of concentration, headaches, lethargy and leading to poorer
quality of work.
The report also found that schools which were taking steps to
increase their pupils fluid intake, had found the children were
calmer, generally better behaved, better concentration, fewer
headaches, fewer 'sore tummies' and a reduction in lethargy.
Additionally, the quality of work produced by the children had also
Providing fluid refreshment is therefore an important
consideration for every school. Offering a range of
drinks will make it more likely that children will drink
enough fluid during the school day. Alongside the 'Drinking in
Schools' report, the Expert Group on Hydration has devised a
12-point checklist to help schools ensure that their pupils are
getting enough to drink.
Parents and schools will now be aware that rules for the
provision of drinks for children have been set. Each part of
the United Kingdom - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- has its own set of rules for drinks in schools, which are similar
to each other but which confusingly are sometimes somewhat
different. Links to each set of rules appear below.
In summary, schools are now permitted to provide fruit juices,
water, and combinations of juice (min 50%) and water which may
contain authorised additives, flavours and added vitamins and
minerals are permitted. The use of additives is also now permitted
in flavoured milk drinks.
BSDA welcomes this decision, as the initial proposals which did
not permit the provision of juice drinks or drinks containing
artificial sweeteners (except in milk and yoghurt drinks), were
considered by industry observers as being too stringent. The
current ruling at least allows for a wider choice of drinks to be
made available to children and thus enabling them to maintain their