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.
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
The Shepway Vox Team
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