Saturday, 19 April 2008

Free-for-all school meals

The success of a pilot scheme in Hull where all primary pupils received free school meals could see all primary pupils in England receiving free school lunches.

Under the free meals initiative, children were provided with healthy breakfasts, hot lunches, an after-school snack, and fruit up to KS2. Nationally, free fruit is only given to pupils in KS1.

The full report on the pilot scheme, carried out from 2004 to 2007, concluded that the lunches improved pupils' behaviour, social skills and academic results. By the final year of the initiative, more than half of the teachers reported a positive impact on pupils' energy levels, powers of concentration and punctuality. One headteacher told the researchers, "I can now actually spend lunchtimes talking to staff about educational issues, rather than dealing with problems of behaviour in the playground."

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