Public supports universal primary free school meals

10 March 2022
On International School Meals Day, new polling commissioned by the Children’s Food Campaign shows majority support for free school meals for all primary children.

Since 2014, all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 have been eligible for free school meals (FSM). We have been long calling for this provision to be extended to more children, and we are encouraged to find out the public agree.

Our friends at the Children’s Food Campaign commissioned research by Savanta ComRes, which asked 2,230 UK adults their thoughts on universal provision in primary schools. 66% of those surveyed would like to see the Government providing FSM for all primary age children.

When respondents were asked about this idea in the context of the rising cost of living, 72% supported universal provision. This adds support to the recent call from Child Poverty Action Group for universal FSM.

Informing those surveyed that primary children in Wales and Scotland will be receiving universal FSM saw a similar increase in support to 73%.

“In one step, the government’s ground-breaking policy of universal infant free school meals normalised healthy eating during those formative years and removed the stigma of means-tested free school meals. It’s time for government to listen to parents and take that next step and make school meals free to all primary school children so that no child misses out on good nutrition.”

-          Stephanie Slater, Founder/ Chief Executive at School Food Matters

It’s time the UK Government catches up with its devolved peers, and with those London boroughs leading the way: Newham, Islington, Southwark and Tower Hamlets.

You can read more about the findings here.