Free School Meals will be served up for the first time today benefiting all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils and saving families over £400 a year per child.
The Liberal Democrats have secured £1billion of funding for this scheme to make sure the youngest pupils sit down to a healthy meal during the day. Over 14,000 pupils in Bristol will be tucking in to Free School Meals from today, with 1.5million pupils benefitting nationwide.
Pilots of this scheme found students on average to be two months ahead of their peers in areas where school meals were not offered. There was also marked progress in the number of children who hit target levels in Maths and English at Key Stage One. The pilots also showed sitting down for lunch broadened their social skills and taught table manners.
Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, Stephen Williams, has welcomed this important change in the education system, saying:
“This is a great example of what the Lib Dems are achieving in the Coalition. Not only will this save families money, but by providing a healthy meal during the day it will also improve pupils’ education and social skills.”
“As the only current government minister who was eligible for free school meals as a child I am immensely proud of what we are achieving. It is our long-term ambition to make sure all school children receive a free and healthy school lunch. The launch of this policy is a great first step and I look forward to pushing for its expansion.”