The School Food Standards require lower fat milk or lactose reduced milk to be available for drinking at least once a day during school hours. Milk must be provided free of charge to infant and benefits -based free school meals pupils when it is offered as part of their school meal and free to benefits-based free school meals pupils at all other times. Charges can be made for all other pupils.
Whole milk can be provided for pupils up to the end of the school year in which they reach age 5, after that milk must be lower fat or lactose-reduced.
To assist with the cost of providing milk schools can take part in the EU School Milk Subsidy Scheme. There is also the Nursery Milk Scheme operated by the Department of Health, which provides free milk to children under the age of 5 at participating schools and childcare settings.