New ‘free school meal’ initiative means parents in Derbyshire look set to save upto £8 million

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Parents across Derbyshire are set to potentially save £8 million on school lunches thanks to a new initiative by the Government.

With almost 21,000 children aged between four and seven now eligible for free school meals, some families who previously spent upto £400 a year will reap the savings.

Government’s standards for school meals mean that parents can also be secure in the knowledge that their children will receive a healthy, nutritious lunch – something which studies have shown contributes to improved concentration and learning in the classroom. Evidence shows that only around 1% of packed lunches meet these standards.

While free school meals are means tested for all children from year 3 onwards, they are now available to all children in reception, year 1 and year 2.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg – who is spearheading the new initiative – said:

“Free school meals for infants will not only save families hundreds of pounds a year but will also have an impact on how a child performs in the classroom so that, regardless of their background, every child can have the best possible start in life.

“Pupils at the pilot schools who were all given free meals were found to be up to two months ahead of their peers elsewhere.

“This is one of the most progressive changes to our school system for a long time. My goal is to create a level playing field for all of our children so their success will be determined by their talents and efforts alone and not by their parents’ bank balance.”