All pupils at infant schools in England are to get free school lunches from next September, Lib Dem leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg has announced.
The change, for children in reception, year one and year two will save parents about £400 a year per child.
Free primary school meals for all pupils was one of the recommendations of a recent review of school food by two founders of the Leon restaurant chain for the Department for Education. It concluded that packed lunches were nearly always less nutritious than a cooked meal, and that giving all children free lunches would raise academic standards. The new policy does not ban packed lunches, but the aim is that having the hot, free option, will boost the numbers of pupils having school dinners.
Nick Clegg said “My ambition is that every primary school pupil should be able to sit down to a hot, healthy lunch with their classmates every day. Millions of parents across the country are feeling the squeeze… I am determined to do all we can to help put money back in the pockets of these families. We will start with infant school pupils because teaching healthy habits young, and boosting attainment early, will bring the biggest benefits. Universal free school meals will help give every child the chance in life that they deserve, building a stronger economy and fairer society.”
We ask your thoughts on this, a great idea and it shouldn’t be based on family income as it currently is, every child should have the same rights to a hot meal in school? Or do you feel that those on a higher income should have to pay for their children’s meal as they can afford to? Tell us your thoughts below