Universal Infant 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.

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.

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”