Commenting on the report published today on universal infant free school meals by the Education Policy Institute, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:
“Today’s report from the EPI confirms that those who claimed at time that introducing a universal school meals entitlement for infant pupils would be near to impossible have been proved wrong.
“The report confirms that even the most significant challenges schools have faced were surmountable and that the small number of schools continuing to face difficulties should learn from those that have implemented the policy well.
“The benefits to parents of this policy are beyond debate, particularly in terms of the costs and time they have saved in not having to pay for a school meal or to prepare a packed lunch. The universal entitlement has also helped promote important debates in schools among parents, pupils and staff about the benefits of healthy eating.
“Given the advantages of this policy, it is essential that the Government retains its commitment to it, helps schools share good practice in terms of managing provision and ensures that the funding schools receive for addressing poverty and deprivation is not affected by the lower registrations for free school meals that may be an unintended consequence of this initiative.”