a partial view of a map of England

We launched an interactive map yesterday that reveals the estimated numbers of children in poverty missing out on free school meals across the country.

If you haven't already, please use the map, which also allows you to easily contact your MP to tell them to ensure all children in poverty receive a free school meal.

Regional data

Our map reveals the percentages of children in poverty missing out on free school meals in each of the 533 constituencies across England.

This is a problem that affects children across the country. For example, while the percentages of children missing out on free school meals varies by region - with the highest proportions mainly in the southeast, southwest, and east England and London - this is an issue that affects children and families across the country.

Looking at constituencies

I also took a look at all of the country's 533 constituencies and broke them down by the percentage of children missing out on free school meals.

At one end of the spectrum, just 22 constituencies have 10% or fewer children in poverty missing out on free school meals. 

On the other extreme, nearly 200 constituencies have over half of the children in poverty missing out on free school meals.

The following chart categorises all 533 constituencies by the percentage of children in poverty missing out on free school meals. By hovering your mouse over the chart, you'll find information about rates of children missing out on free school meals. For example, the darkest segment shows that 45 constituencies across the country have 61-70% percent of children in poverty missing out on free school meals.

Why are these children not getting free school meals?

Across England, 700,000 children in poverty are not entitled to receive free school meals mostly because their parents are in work.

Under the government's current criteria, if a single parent works more than 16 hours a week (or 24 hours a week for couples), no matter how little they earn, their children do not qualify for free school meals.

Most of the children in poverty missing out on free school meals are in low income working families. 

You can make a difference

The government is currently considering how free school meals will be provided under the new universal credit benefit system (to be introduced from October this year). This is a unique opportunity to extend free school meals to all those children who need them and are not currently getting them.

Our Fair and Square campaign is calling for all children in poverty across the country to be able to get free school meals.

Please join in today - contact your MP and tell them to ensure all children in poverty receive a free school meal.

Button that reads 'Join in'

By Laura Rodrigues - Policy Officer - Poverty and Early Years
Laura Rodrigues
- Policy team

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