Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The Milk in Schools Scheme, 1934-45: 'nationalization' and resistance

Atkins, P.J.

The Milk in Schools Scheme, 1934-45: 'nationalization' and resistance Thumbnail


P.J. Atkins


In October 1934 the National Government took over what had previously been a commercial initiative to encourage milk‐drinking in schools. By the outbreak of war the Milk in Schools Scheme had reached 87 per cent of elementary schools in England and Wales and 56 per cent of pupils were drinking one‐third of a pint daily. This paper investigates the motivations behind this scheme and the problems associated with its implementation. There was resistance from within government and a number of objections were raised around the country, particularly to the strategy of the Board of Education. The conclusions are, first, that the economic necessity of providing a market for liquid milk was more important in the mind of policy‐makers than nutritional supplements for undernourished children and, second, that the evolution of the policy itself was highly contingent upon the network of power and influence within which it operated. In 1933 it would have been difficult to predict with any degree of certainty how a Milk in Schools Scheme would have operated, but in time it was to become one of the government’s most robust and universally supported food policies.


Atkins, P. (2005). The Milk in Schools Scheme, 1934-45: 'nationalization' and resistance. History of Education, 34(1), 1-21.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2005
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2012
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2012
Journal History of Education
Print ISSN 0046-760X
Electronic ISSN 1464-5130
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 1-21


Published Journal Article (326 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is an electronic version of an article published in Atkins, P.J. (2005) 'The Milk in Schools Scheme, 1934-45 : 'nationalization' and resistance.', History of education., 34 (1). pp. 1-21. History of education is available online at:

You might also like

Downloadable Citations