No such thing as a free lunch?


UPDATE 29 September: Good news, it looks like the government has seen sense on free school meals. David Cameron's spokesperson said today that the government was committed to it's manifesto pledge to continue universal free school meals. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition!

A mere two years ago, the government introduced universal free school meals for infants. We were delighted at the time - and said so.

Evidence from pilot projects showed that while all children benefit from free school meals, low-income children benefit the most. Nutritional intake improved dramatically and academically children at these schools quickly moved ahead of their peers elsewhere, by almost a term. Free school meals improves all children's diet and saves parents £400 a year, taking the pressure off severely strained family finances.

Now, despite having given schools over £175m to improve their kitchens, and encouraged the school workforce to make substantial changes to put it all in place, newspapers are reporting that the government is considering axing universal infant free school meals. A petition has gone up calling on the government to maintain this policy - please join us in signing it if you agree with us that universal free school meals should stay.



If someone is on a low income, then yes, I can see how it would benefit a child, but if parents have good jobs, I do not see why the government should fund free meals.

By Anonymous
Wed, 2015-09-23 12:22

Hi there, thanks for the

Hi there, thanks for the question. The are a few reasons we support universal free school meals rather than just meals for children of parents on low incomes. Firstly because getting a good quality, nutritional lunch boosts attainment across the board. Secondly because universal lunches reduces the stigma attached to free school meals that some children experience which can mean they're reluctant to sign up. Also because for parents just over the cut off for getting free school meals, this can still be a significant expense to meet - check out this blog for our full explanation

By Jessica Sinclair Taylor
Tue, 2015-09-29 13:00