Published: October 6, 2013
Town's MP backs £600m scheme to provide free primary school meals

Burnham-On-Sea's MP has backed a £600million government initiative to give every infant school pupil in the UK free school lunches from next year.

From September 2014, 16,766 infant school pupils in Somerset will benefit from a free hot and healthy meal at lunchtime.

The coalition government will fund schools in England to provide free meals for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

Tessa Munt told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I talk to parents all the time in my patch and I know they are feeling the squeeze."

"During the course of a year, the average family spends £400 on lunches for each child and we are determined to ease the financial burden for these families."

"Research shows us that having a guaranteed nutritious hot meal raises attainment and it is right that every child has a fair start in those very crucial early years of their education."

Universal free school meals for primary school pupils was 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.

Following Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s recent announcement, the Coalition Government will also extend free school meals to disadvantaged students in further education and sixth form colleges. Free school meals are only currently available for eligible students at school sixth forms.

The new measures will cost approximately £600m and full details on how the schemes will be funded is due to be announced in the government's Autumn Statement 2013.

 


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