Get the Facts: Free School Meals
A hot, healthy meal at lunch time greatly improves the health, behaviour and results of schoolchildren, providing them with their best start in life, enabling every child to fulfil their potential. Have a look at the factsheet to see the benefits of school meals:
Does it work?
Early evidence shows that free school meals make a real difference in our classrooms. They were first piloted by the Department of Education and Department of Health in 2009. These pilots found clear benefits: on average children in the pilots areas were found to be ahead of their peers. These findings were then backed up by the Government’s School Food Plan – a report published in 2013.
What about other primary school children?
The Liberal Democrats have also said that it is our aspiration to expand the policy to give free school meals to every primary school pupil in England. We are putting this aspiration in our manifesto for the 2015 General Election.
Is it worth the money?
At a time where money is tight, this policy is saving families over £400 per child, every year. Free school meals help all pupils do better in English and Maths, no matter which social group they belong to, and they will help the four in ten children who live in poverty to fulfil their potential.
Have schools got the support they need?
We’ve provided £150m to upgrade school kitchens and dining rooms, on top of a billion pounds of new money to fund the meals. We’ve also made the policy law to give schools certainty that it will be a lasting change in our schools system. As of September 2014, over 98% of schools were delivering a hot meal every day to all children aged 5-7.