Entitlement: the eligibility criteria that currently exclude millions of children who would benefit.
Currently, one in three children who live in poverty are not entitled to free school meals. This is increasing food insecurity, and worsening health and educational outcomes.
All children at school should be provided with healthy, tasty meals, one additional piece of fruit or vegetable each day, and all ingredients for cooking lessons. Free school meal provision improves health and educational outcomes, especially amongst children from lower income families.,
The Government should:
- Work towards a long-term goal of providing universally, comprehensively funded, healthy and nutritious school food, recognising the long-term economic contribution the policy provides on improving health, attainment and productivity.,
- As a first step, raise the household earnings threshold for free school meal entitlement to £20,000/ all children from families in receipt of universal credit, so that more children living in poverty are eligible for free school meals
- Ensure all children are able to access a school breakfast club
- Following the permanent extension of free school meals eligibility to children from disadvantaged backgrounds with no recourse to public funds, further extend eligibility to undocumented children