Home Business News Pupils celebrate free school meals as more than 17 million meals already provided this term

Pupils celebrate free school meals as more than 17 million meals already provided this term

by LLB staff reporter
12th Dec 23 12:14 pm

More than 17million free school meals have been funded for state primary school children in the capital this school term, thanks to historic £135m funding from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

The unprecedented funding has helped up to 287,000 children each day since the start of September and today a class at Mandeville Primary School in Hackney were visited by celebrity chefs BOSH! to help prepare and enjoy a special lunch in celebration of free school meals.

City Hall’s ‘Love your lunch’ challenge asked primary schoolchildren across the capital to create a piece of work in any medium along the theme ‘The best thing about school lunches is…’. Year 5 pupil Ishall’s poem championing the benefits of free school meals wowed the judges and scooped the top prize – lunch for the whole class, courtesy of the famed chefs.

State primary school children across the capital have been enjoying free school meals since the start of the school year in September thanks to the Mayor’s funding.

An estimated 1.4m meals each week are being funded after the Mayor stepped in to help support families as they struggle with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Families in every borough in the capital are saving upwards of £440 per child across the school year.

It’s the first time ever that free school meals have been available to all pupils in every year of state-funded primary schools, special schools and pupil referral units in the capital. Children in years 3 to 6 in primary school had previously only received free school meals if they lived in households on universal credit earning less than £7,400 a year – after tax and not including benefits, and regardless of the number of children in the family.

Sadiq’s free school meals funding is the latest programme from the Mayor to support Londoners with the cost-of-living crisis.

That includes investing £3.46bn into building the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need and £400m on skills and employment programmes to support Londoners to find more secure work, as well as more than £80m to help those struggling with the rising cost of living to tackle fuel poverty, supporting private renters, connecting Londoners to welfare advice and tackling food insecurity.

The Mayor has also provided an emergency funding package of more than £3.5m to help provide around 10m free meals during school holidays and at weekends to low-income Londoners struggling with the spiralling cost of living over the next year.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m delighted that we have already funded more than 17m free school meals this term with hundreds of thousands of London’s primary school children benefitting every day.

“I know from personal experience how important these meals are and what a difference receiving a free nutritious meal can make to young lives, which is why I stepped forward with this unprecedented funding to help families during the cost-of-living crisis.

“The fantastic poem written by Ishall at Mandeville Primary School truly sums up the importance of these meals and I’m delighted that her class has today enjoyed a special meal that they have helped to prepare too. I will continue to do all I can to support families as build a better London for all.”

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