Report calls for review of free school meal eligibility

A new report from the Food Foundation, released as part of the #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign spearheaded by Marcus Rashford, provides further evidence that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK’s most vulnerable populations and that the problem of household food insecurity continues to be at crisis levels.

The report found that free School Meal vouchers have represented a vital lifeline for eligible children and their families during Covid, but a series of issues with provision during school closure left many eligible children unable to rely on a regular, quality meal.

Many children not currently eligible for Free School Meals face the daily stress of not knowing where their next meal comes from. An increased number of children reported they or their families visited a food bank this Christmas compared to during the summer holidays.

The report is recommending an urgent and comprehensive review into Free School Meal policy across the UK. To support all low-income children and families in the aftermath of the pandemic, the review should ensure Free School Meals are delivering maximum nutritional and educational impact and promoting children’s learning and well-being throughout the school day. It should review the current eligibility threshold to make sure no disadvantaged children are missing out on the benefits of a Free School Meal.



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