Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their experience of discrimination related to the (non) provision of plant milk in schools. As you can see, this is an issue that affects people across the country and needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
"No alternatives offered where my children go to school, they just drink the water I send them in with. It would be great to see alternatives offered to children in schools." D.V. Tring, Herts.
"My daughter has a milk allergy and I have to provide her with a carton of oat milk to have while the others have cows milk. Would be fab If something was available to her, I’m quite happy buying it but I feel for very low income families that might be harder." A.G.
"As a childminder I can get free cow milk delivered but not alternatives." A.M.
"When my son was much younger and we were eligible for the Healthy Start vouchers – they turned up in the post and they were for cow’s milk only so I binned them. I was fortunate enough to not need to rely on them but I do remember being very angry that anyone who was reliant on them would be disadvantaged if they were vegan." R.P. Birmingham.
"My son's school has milk delivered, and he was not given any milk alternative, all the other under 5s got free milk, and he did not. I had to send in plant milk for him to have at my own expense which is ridiculous when all the other kids got free cow's milk every day. I also used to get healthy start vouchers, and was unable to buy dairy free milk for myself with those." S.M. Geddington, Northants.
"Only cow’s milk offered in the primary school." H.G-J. Mid-Wales.
"My local school don’t even offer fresh fruit to children never mind plant milk! They are somehow still giving themselves the “Healthy School” accolade." R.N. Newcastle.
"My daughter started school last September. She doesn't drink cow milk and no other alternative was offered so I had to buy oat milk every week and send it in with her. Obviously (due to having to remember at least 340 things each morning) I forgot some weeks... So she was given water. Which made her unhappy and made me feel guilty. It is absolutely ridiculous there isn't a dairy-free option." L.M. Whitstable, Kent.
"My daughter had cows milk allergy and started reception class in September. All reception age children are given carton of cow’s milk and snack at break time. They couldn’t provide her with milk alternative." K.M. Suffolk.
"My son is lactose intolerant and I have had to provide his own since he was at nursery and through school. He's now 10 and nothing has changed." C.T. Somerset.
"Yep not plant alternative for the free school milk here! Don’t see why I should purchase an alt if the children drinking cow's milk get it for free until age 5!" TR.J. Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks.
"We get healthy start vouchers and my 2 year-old son has a dairy intolerance so I felt discriminated against. As milk is expensive so it would have been really helpful to be able to use the vouchers for that." R.L. Stalybridge, Manchester.
"My son was born with CMPI cow's milk protein intolerance so could never have cow's milk. I used to take a litre bottle of milk in at the start of every week so he could join in at milk time when the rest of the class got funded milk.
"My little girl couldn’t have cow's milk as it gave her excema and she is currently in reception and just goes without." J.M. Norfolk.
"I was informed by the infant and junior school (where my kids attended) that they cannot afford to buy or the catering suppliers do not stock plant milks." G.G. Birmingham.