Universal Free School Meals

What are Universal Free School Meals?

The Government has announced that, from September 2014, they will provide funding to enable schools in England to offer a free lunch to every primary school child in reception classes, year 1 and year 2.

Improved Health & Wellbeing

*We know, from pilot projects held between 2009-2011, that universal free school meals can have significant health benefits both for individual children and for the broader life of the school.

*Pupils in the pilot areas were found to eat more healthily and perform better academically and these improvements were most pronounced among the poorest pupils. Universal free school meals have the potential to transform schools, improving health & wellbeing and reducing obesity in children.

*It is reported that only 1% of packed lunches meet the nutritional standards that currently apply to school lunches. 

What does it mean to me?

This is fantastic news for parents with children within these year groups.  Parents could save nearly £400 per year per child and feel assured that their child is receiving a delicious, nutritious balanced meal which contributes to one third of a child’s daily nutritional requirement which aids concentration and helps with learning.

We can promise that your child will receive quality food, freshly prepared from scratch each day on site, cooked and served by catering professionals who care.

We hope that you will support this initiative and encourage your child / children to try a school meal and endorse this exciting plan.

What are the benefits to my child?

When children eat with their peers it often encourages them to try and taste new foods and dishes which they may not have experienced previously. The dining experience encourages pupils to engage in conversation and assists with the development of personal social skills.  

The school meal service also provides themed lunch events which link in to the schools’ curriculum and introduces new taste sensations from around the world.

Improved educational attainment

*Many studies have shown that hunger effects concentration and that well nourished children fare better at school. Good food provision in schools has been shown to lead not only to healthier children, but to improved attainment.

*Schools also reported improved behaviour and atmosphere, as a result of all pupils (and an increasing number of teachers) eating together in the dining hall every day.

Practical cooking skills MSL

In addition to providing a wholesome lunch for children the government has recognised the importance of equipping today’s children with the necessary skills required to feed themselves, therefore cooking lessons will form part of the future curriculum for children up to the age of 14.

*The new curriculum will emphasise the importance of cooking nutritious, savoury dishes, understanding where food comes from and taking pleasure in the creative arts of the kitchen.

Government Funding

*The government has now finalised funding available to support schools in delivering this project. £1bn has been committed for this policy in England in the budget over the next two years. In addition, the government will be providing £150m of capital funding in England to help schools upgrade their kitchen and dining rooms to meet the expected increased demand.

*Source “The School Food Plan Summary”