No free lunch?

September 25, 2013 9:06 AM

Almost seven thousand childrenin Sutton are set to benefit from a free hot and healthy meal at lunchtime from next September.

From September 2014, every child in infant school in England will receive a free school lunch. The measure, which will save families £400 a year per child, has been welcomed by Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake as "mouth-wateringly good news for both children and parents in Sutton".

The Coalition will fund schools in England to provide free meals for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 in a measure that will help to raise school standards and cut the attainment gap.

At the same time, the Coalition will extend free school meals to disadvantaged students in further education and sixth form colleges. Free school meals are currently available only for eligible students at school sixth forms.

Tom added: "During the course of a year, the average family spends £400 on lunches for children at infant school. Free lunches will put pounds back in the pockets of working parents and give every child the chance in life that they deserve, making for a fairer society."

Universal free school meals for primary school pupils were a key recommendation in a recent review of school food produced independently for the Department for Education. The review found that, in pilots where all children had been given a free school dinner, students were academically months ahead of their peers elsewhere and more likely to eat vegetables at lunchtime.

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