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Education Leaders Urge Ministers for Action on Free School Meals and Holiday Provision

More than 30 influential education leaders have written to Ministers urging the Government to act on the policy asks in Part 1 of the National Food Strategy related to children’s food programmes.

General Secretaries of leading headteachers unions, Governance Association and 17 leaders of the largest multi-academy trusts (representing 400 schools) all joined forces to urge the Government to respond to tackle the growing issue of child food poverty.

The letter, addressed to Rishi Sunak, The Chancellor of the Exchequer and Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education as well as Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, underlines how a healthy school meal “helps improve children’s concentration during afternoon lessons, with positive knock-on effects on classroom behaviour”. Education leaders call for “appropriate, long-term, mechanisms must be put into place in the holidays to ensure that children don’t fall behind and have an unfair disadvantage when coming back to school.”

The letter asks Ministers to expand Free School Meals to all children from families on Universal Credit or equivalent benefits, including children from families with No Recourse to Public Funds, as well as extend holiday activity and food provision to all children in receipt of Free School Meals.

Such asks are in line with the National Food Strategy – an independent review commissioned by Government – and the current #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign spearheaded by Marcus Rashford.

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