Wow, have you heard this news? I’m in two minds about the decision because, on the one hand, it offers a great opportunity for underprivileged children, meaning they won’t be going hungry, but on the other side, school dinners don’t really have a reputation for being the healthiest of meals.
Free school meals will become available to children this week. 98% of primary schools have reported they are ready to provide children up to the age of 7 with a hot school lunch when children return to education within the next few days.
The small number of schools that are not prepared for the changes will offer cold meals as an alternative. Many schools are calling on the government to provide money to improve their kitchens, as the amount they have received is not enough to provide hot meals to children.
The government has announced they’ve provided £1billion for schools to meet the costs for free meals, which will be available to all pupils for the next two years without the need for means testing. The government has also provided £150million to schools to improve their kitchen and dining facilities, whilst smaller schools will divide £22.5 million.
David Laws, the Education Minister, recently praised schools “on a fantastic job in preparing for this important milestone. Today our goal to offer every infant child a healthy, tasty school meal has become a reality, a move that will put money back in parents’ pockets while ensuring all children get the best possible start in life”.
It is now a school’s legal duty to provide free school meals to children up to the age of 7 years old, and the service is expected to save the average family £400 per year per child.
Research carried out by the BBC has suggested that 2,700 schools will not be able to offer hot school meals in September, with 1,700 establishments have no kitchen or inadequate facilities. However, the Education Minister’s latest figures contradict the BBC’s report, with only 50 or 60 schools having to delay hot meals until January.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has, however, stated he would like free school meals to be available for pupils up to the age of 11 years old.
I suppose it would depend on the school and the funding that has been allocated to provide the best meals, it’s a nice idea in theory, but in practice, I don’t know how it would work out