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Free school meals for infant pupils
11:54am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
EVERY infant school pupil in Essex will be entitled to free school meals from next September, the Government announced.
The £600million policy will mean that pupils in reception, Year One and Year Two will be entitled to the meals, at an estimated saving of £400 a year for parents.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg made the announcement, claiming that as well as benefitting parents financially, the initiative will boost academic standards as well as nutrition within youngsters.
As education is a devolved department, it is up to those who are running schools to decide whether the money they will get will go on the free meals.
At the moment they are only available to all children whose parents are on benefits or earn less than £16,190 a year.
James Courtenay, cabinet member for education on Southend Council, said: “I’m cautiously optimistic about this.
“The issue is cost involved as the meals look as though they are free but they will be funded by us, the taxpayer.
“But there is a lot of evidence that it will improve education and behaviour, as well as obviously nutrition.”
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