Children tucking into free meals

2 Aug 2014.....Feature on  school dinners at St Nicholas Primary School after it received mew kitchen equipment as part of the universal free school meals programme.Picture Scott Merrylees SM1004/83c
2 Aug 2014.....Feature on school dinners at St Nicholas Primary School after it received mew kitchen equipment as part of the universal free school meals programme.Picture Scott Merrylees SM1004/83c

Thousands more children are now tucking into free school meals across Derbyshire as part of a new government initiative that has kicked in this term.

The scheme was announced last autumn and means that all Reception, Year One and Year Two children in state-funded schools in England are now entitled to free school lunches.

As part of the scheme between 7,400 and 9,885 more children per day are now benefiting from free school meals across all Derbyshire Infant, Primary and Special schools.

To help them with provision of the new scheme, Derbyshire County Council was granted £1,761,052 in capital funding from central government to prepare their facilities for the increasing demand.

More than half of this money was spent on equipment, while around £60,000 was spent on kitchen upgrades and £680,000 was spent on conversions.

The authority has also recruited an extra 130 catering assistants to serve up the lunches, and council chiefs have said that all 304 schools i n the county bound to provide the free school meals are doing so as the new term starts.

The authorities’ Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Kevin Gillott, said that he was the meals are being provided:

“Our staff worked hard to ensure all the necessary equipment was installed and everything was in place to allow a smooth start to the scheme.”

children a free school dinner.

Research shows that hungry children can be disruptive and are less likely to do well at school and we know that many families are struggling financially.”