James Bowen, Director of Policy at NAHT said: “School leaders are seeing first-hand the impact that the cost of living crisis is having on pupils and families. Our members are reporting that they are seeing more and more families struggle to afford the basics, including food. Schools are also having to deal with the impact of rising costs themselves, with rising energy costs and inflation putting a real pressure on school budgets.
It has been clear for some time that the funding for universal infant free school meals is inadequate and we know that schools and caterers have been finding it increasingly difficult to provide healthy, balanced meals with the £2.34 they receive from the government for each meal they provide. The news that the government is increasing this figure is obviously welcome, but an extra 7p per day is simply not enough to cover the increased costs schools are facing. In the current climate, £2.41 will not stretch very far and caterers will still be left facing difficult decisions about what they can provide
We welcome the fact that the department for education is beginning to engage with the issue of holiday hunger. However, whilst we recognise that private companies undoubtedly do some really good work to support families, this is not a problem that can be outsourced to supermarkets to solve. What we need is a clear plan from government and a guarantee that no child will be allowed to go hungry when they are not in school.”
First published 14 June 2022