18 Dec 2014

Children’s Society welcomes free school meal take-up figures

Commenting on new Department for Education figures on the uptake of free school meals by 1.3 million infant school pupils, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society Matthew Reed, said:

'These figures demonstrate a huge take-up of free school meals in infant schools and reinforce the importance of their availability having been extended. Amongst these children are approximately 160,000 living in poverty who have gained entitlement as a result of this important new measure. 

'This is an important step forward that means that many young children across the country can sit down to a meal at lunchtimes that they might otherwise have to go without.

'Today’s announcement will be welcomed by the families who benefit and the more than 100,000 people who supported The Children’s Society’s Fair and Square campaign that led to its introduction.

'However, half a million children in junior and secondary schools living in poverty are still missing out. It is vital that the momentum of this success is continued and that every child, regardless of their age, is able to benefit from a free school meal.'

Notes to Editor

  • The statistics are available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-data-shows-13-million-more-infant....
  • The Children’s Society has helped change children’s stories for over a century. We expose injustice and address hard truths, tackling child poverty and neglect head-on. We fight for change based on the experiences of every child we work with and the solid evidence we gather. Through our campaigning, commitment and care, we are determined to give every child in this country the greatest possible chance in life.

Media enquiries

For more information, call 020 7841 4422 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.