Check out this new blog from Sarah at the National Centre for Social Research. It’s all about a new report they’ve published this week, which looked at the impact of pilot schemes offering free school meals to more families.
In two areas where all primary school children were offered free meals, findings included:
- better attainment at Key Stages 1 and 2, with pupils making between four and eight weeks’ more progress than similar pupils in comparison areas. This tended to be strongest amongst pupils from less affluent families and amongst those with lower prior attainment
- most pupils took up the offer of free school meals
- take-up of school meals increased for pupils who weren’t eligible (that is, entitled and registered) for free school meals before the pilot, but also among pupils who were already eligible for free school meals.
- a shift in the types of food that pupils ate at lunchtime, away from foods typically associated with packed lunches towards those associated with hot meals.
- children were less likely to report eating crisps at least once a day
- less fussy eating! Two-thirds of parents agreed that their child was willing to try new food, compared with 57 per cent in comparison areas.
Here’s what Judy, our Chief Executive, had to say about the findings. We worked closely with all of the pilot schemes so we got to hear lots of the positive feedback from teachers and parents. We’d love to hear what you think too – post your comments below. Do you live in one of the pilot areas (Durham, Newham or Wolverhampton)? If so, did your child try the free school meals offer? What did you think?
Claire’s our Media and Communications Manager. Email Claire.