Should free school meals be available to all?
Thousands of more children could be entitled to free school meals under proposed changes. In the light of soaring requests for food banks.
In London alone, 94,000 young children are currently entitled to free school meals. Free school meals are offered to those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. It includes many families on Universal credit or income support but typically not tax credits.
Pupils in government-funded schools are given free school meals between reception and year two. But according to research 400,000 children have very low food security. The definition of food security is when a person is, or risks being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
An investigation by Charity citizens UK found that last year many pupils who are eligible for the benefit are losing out on nearly £65 million a year. Because unused allowances are being retained by the meal providers.
In most cases, if a pupil on free school meals does not use their allowance by the end of the day for example, if they are absent or attending a lunchtime club. Any credit that they have not spent is deducted and retained by the company (private firm, school or local authority)
Children North East Luke Bramhall said that this is a national issue from Brighton, to Middlesborough, from Manchester to Scunthorpe. The charity is calling on the Government to give this allowance back to help parents who are struggling to feed their kids.
The London Assembly has approved a motion asking Sadiq Khan to jointly write to the Secretary of State Education to make the case for universal free school meals for all school pupils. A hungry child can not concentrate, a child that can not concentrate can’t learn, and a child that can’t learn can not reach their full potential.
Source Daily Mirror.