Free School Meals On the Rise Across Kent

The number of children in Kent receiving free schools meals between 2018 and 2019 increased by 3,452 pupils, according to the latest data published by Kent County Council. That’s a rise of 3.3%

Just 2 days ago, the Conservative majority in the House of Commons voted against extending free school meals for pupils over the school holidays, up to Easter 2021. This included 14 Kent Conservative MPs. Only Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield (Lab) voted in favour.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on household food security. That’s because the numbers of persons claiming Universal Credit across the county has doubled between Feb and Sept, according to the latest DWP figures. This will have driven the numbers of pupils receiving free school meals well beyond the 2019 figures.

In May 2020, a poll by the charity the Food Foundation found that 200,000 children were missing meals just one month after lockdown began.

There is evidence that children who are living in food-insecure families are more likely to suffer from  education losses.

Research has shown the importance of eating five portions of fruit or vegetables each day. However, more than a quarter of UK children eat less than one portion a day.

Some researchers believe that we should invest in “gold standards” for nutritious school meals. Other campaigns suggest that all primary school children should have free school meals.

Marcus Rashford’s campaign ensured children did not go hungry this summer. It has also highlighted the long history – and ongoing problem – of food poverty in the UK.

In the last few days, scores of councils have pledged to feed disadvantaged children over the school holidays as they joined a wave of public support for the campaign led by Rashford.

Will the 12 Kent Councils step up to the plate and shelve out just over half a million to feed hungry children during half term, which lasts a week, and starts on Monday 26th Oct. They’ll need to act quickly if they want to be part of the solution.

If you or your family need to apply for free school meals for your children, you can do so here ⇒ Kent County Council Free School Meals

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3 Comments on Free School Meals On the Rise Across Kent

  1. I know this is an unpopular opinion but whats wrong with packing them a lunchbox? Loaf of bread 60p, pack of ham a pound, pack of apples a pound. If you can’t afford a few quid a week to feed your own children lunch then your priorities Are messed up.
    If you’ve lost your job universal credit etc are there for this reason.
    The line has to be drawn somewhere, parents should be responsible enough to feed their own families not at taxpayer expense

  2. It would cost FHDC £37,830 to feed the children on Free School Meals, during Half Term. That’s less than the Chief Exec’s £40K pay rise. Surely all our Cllrs should be calling on our Council to feed these Children.

    FHDC have spent £25m on a racecourse, £3m on a castle and have £53.5 million in reserves. Surely, the Council can put it’s hand in its pocket to help feed 2,522 children across the district.

  3. I may be missing something but surely the Government cash injection to alleviate local hardship has already been stated to include food poverty (including school meals in, or out, of term time). Seems to me that Government Funding still equals Government Funding no-matter the label. Can anyone enlighten me further?.

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