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Sep 02 2014

Schools Struggling with Free Hot Meals Plan

harrow_council_logoHarrow gets a mention on Sky News this week, with a story about how schools across the UK are unable to give children free hot school meals – or, indeed, in one case known to us, any free meals, hot OR cold – as the term starts. The original intent was that all infant school children would get a free hot school meal, before the word ‘hot’ was quietly struck from the legislation.

Sky News says: “All state educated infants, year one and year two pupils in England are entitled to free school dinners from September under plans announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last year.”

It continues: “St John Fisher Catholic Primary School in Middlesex will serve meals in the classrooms and use outside caterers until its new kitchen is completed next year. The school’s headteacher, Anne Lyons, told Sky News she supports the plans to give children free food but added: “We’ve had virtually no funding to implement this, other than the £2.30, which is why we don’t have a kitchen.”

In a statement, a Department for Education spokesman said 239 schools, around 1.5%, would not be ready to serve hot meals at the beginning of term, but will provide cold food. Harrow, of course, has failed to deliver that promise.

Perhaps parents should be asking their schools what they’re doing with the £2.30 they’re getting for each infant to have a meal, and, perhaps, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the school to pay this to parents so at least, the intention of a free meal is there, even if the reality is somewhat difference.

You can read the whole story here.

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