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£3m to fund better kitchens in schools
SCHOOL kitchens across Essex are to be improved, with millions of pounds of Government cash footing the bill.
From September, all infant school pupils will be eligible for free lunches and the money will allow infant schools to upgrade kitchens to help feed more hungry young mouths.
The county’s fast-growing population means the council will also get £14.8million to help fund early learning for two-year-olds from lower-income families.
County Hall is also to get £96.3million from 2014-17 to increase the overall number of school places.
Ray Gooding, county councillor responsible for education, said: “This is wonderful news to end the year on.
“I’m pleased and grateful the Department for Education is investing in Essex schools and young people. The funding for infants’ free school meals is much-needed and will enable a number of schools which are unable to provide hot, nutritious school lunches to get the facilities to do so.
“It will also support a programme of refurbishment in a significant number of schools.
“I believe children should be given the best start in life and the funding allocated for twoyear- olds from lower-income families will enable us to provide support to those families and children who need it most.
“It is extremely important we invest in early years education, ensuring children are ready for school.
“It is widely acknowledged we have significant pressure on school places.
“While this pressure is on primary places at the moment, it will soon impact on the secondary sector.
“This allocation will allow us to address these pressures, expand good schools and build new ones.
“Ultimately, this is great news for Essex parents and young people.”
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