The percentage of pupils in York opting for a school meal is expected to rise from 40% to 63% this September with the introduction of the national initiative offering free school meals to all Key Stage 1 pupils [Reception, Year 1 and Year 2] pupils.
The scheme was announced by the coalition government a year ago
City of York Council has been working with primary schools and its school meals catering providers to ensure that all the children wanting a hot school meal can get one.
Each school site has been surveyed and the necessary supplies – from cutlery to ovens and fridges – have been ordered, and trial days have been held in some schools to evaluate how best to facilitate the increased demand for school lunches. Adaptations and additional equipment have been funded through a £370,000 grant from the government.
Evidence shows that eating a good meal at lunchtime has important health and educational benefits for children.
The meals can improve their diet, promote healthy eating habits and increase concentration during afternoon lessons.
Parents with children in Key Stage 1 are encouraged to consider taking up the free school meals offer.
Mark Ellis, Head of School Services, City of York Council, said: “We’ve been working closely with schools and caters over the last few months and are confident that all our primary schools will be able to provide the free school meals to those children who want them.”
Recognising the importance that healthy food can play in education and long term wellbeing, the council is also working with the Food for Life Partnership and local schools to promote the importance of good, healthy food to children of all ages.
For more information about how to apply for Free School Meals for school children of all ages please visit www.york.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals or call 01904 551554.