Universal Free School Meals

Wednesday 4 November 2015, 5:00pm

Motion detail

“This Assembly urges the Government to maintain Universal Free School Meals for infant school pupils in London, introduced in 2014, when it announces the Spending Review on 25 November 2015.

Universal Free School Meals have been shown to have significant benefits for educational performance of children across the country, and therefore in London, with the 2009-11 pilot schemes generating four weeks additional progress for pupils at Key Stage 1 and eight weeks progress at Key Stage 2. Universal Free School Meals for infants are therefore an important tool for improving attainment in the classroom and reducing the stigma of means tested free school meals that results in many children failing to claim their meal.

With over 40,000 visits by children to a London food bank last year (2014/15), and evidence from the Mayor that 74,000 London children sometimes or often go to bed hungry at night, it is also clear that Universal Free School Meals can be an important means of tackling child hunger in the capital. At a time when tax credits are due to be severely cut, Universal Free School Meals are also helping the family budgets of parents with young children, who save around £400 a year per child.

This Assembly therefore urges the Government to protect Universal Free School Meals for infant school pupils in London and for the Mayor – who has previously stated his support for the School Food Plan’s recommendation for the rollout of universal free school meals for 4 to 7 year olds[16] - to write to the Prime Minister and Chancellor calling for Universal Free School Meals to be protected.”

[16] Question 2015/1948, Mayor’s Question Time, 17.06.15