A 2013 study, written by the Insitute for Fiscal Studies, the National Centre for Social Research and the Brysom Purdon Social Research, showed that universal free school meals “had a significant positive impact on attainment”, as well as easing the pressure on household budgets.
Packed lunches are less likely to meet nutritional standards, according to a 2010 study commissioned by the Food Standards Agency, which found that just 1% of packed lunches met the nutritional standards set for school lunches.
This month saw the 25th National School Meals Week. Organised jointly by the school meals industry and the Soil Association’s Food For Life campaign, it celebrated all that is great about school food. 14 November was also Roast Dinner Day.
As part of the Silver Jubilee activities, Cllrs Paul Hodgkinson and Jenny Forde were invited to North Cerney Primary School on Wednesday to join the pupils for a roast lunch they themselves prepared.
Speaking at the lunch, Cllr Hodgkinson (Gloucestershire County Council, Bourton and Northleach) said:
“I was delighted to be invited to join the students at North Cerney Primary School for a delicious roast dinner. Eating a nutritional lunch – either prepared by the school, local caterers or homemade – is shown to be critical for a child’s educational attainment and for tackling the growing challenge of childhood obesity.
“The introduction of free school meals for all children, in reception to year 2, in 2014, highlighted the values of the Liberal Democrats in government – of ensuring that every child has the best possible start in life.”
Cllr Jenny Forde (Cotswold District Council, Chedworth & Churn Valley) remarked:
“It’s no surprise that there’s a direct link between inadequate nutrition and low concentration levels, often the school lunch can be the only sit-down meal that children get. What we put in their bellies is almost as important as what we put in their heads!”