Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:13

Why might free school meals be scrapped? by Emma Kane

Why might free school meals be scrapped?

Theresa May’s plan to scrap free school meals for infants, has been described as “mean-spirited” and “wrong-headed”. The move has sparked taunts of “May, the meals snatcher,” but to the Conservatives it was a policy that no longer added up, they believe it’s not a sensible use of public money.

School business manager at Cheam Fields Primary, Nicky Gillhespie, said things were very different before her school introduced free school meals. “We had children coming in with nothing, some had been given a pound to get something from the sweetshop on the way to school for their lunch,” she said.

The school in Cheam, South London, had no kitchen when the free school meals pledge was made and dinners were driven over to the school by a catering firm. “Burgers were kept warm in trays of hot water, for example, so they looked really pale and the children just didn’t want to eat them,” she said.

Culture change

With the help of a government funded kitchen pod worth £70,000 the school has seen a complete change of culture. Uptake on meals went from about 85-300 a day. There has also been some personal stories of success. For example there was one girl who only ate rice but now she eats a full meal like everyone else.

Read 253 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:26