EVERY pupil at two Basildon academies are to be handed free school lunches twice a week to help hard-pressed families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

The Basildon Academies Trust, which runs Basildon Lower Academy and Basildon Upper Academy, revealed all students will be provided with free lunches - a hot meal or sandwich and a dessert - on Mondays and Fridays up to the Easter holidays.


Around 40 per cent of pupils at the two schools are eligible for free meals, and the move is designed to reduce families’ lunch costs by up to 40 per cent.

The academies, which have a total of 1665 students, also offer a free breakfast every morning at 8am.

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Gary Smith, chief executive at the trust, said: “We hope we can support families in reducing their school lunch bill, as well as providing all students with a hot, nutritious meal.

“Additionally, we offer a free breakfast for all our students at the academies every day from 8am.

“The uptake and popularity of both these initiatives is fantastic, and our students have given lots of positive praise to our catering teams for their efforts in ensuring all are catered for.”

The trust is also offering parents a uniform exchange where they can trade items their children have grown out of for better-suited sizes.

“We have also worked with our Parent Forum to reduce the cost of our school uniform, ensuring it is as competitively priced as possible whilst still maintaining our high expectations,” Mr Smith added.

On Monday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced one-year of funding for free school meals for all primary school children in the capital.

“No child should go hungry, but a tragic symptom of the cost-of-living crisis means that sadly, far too many children are,” Mr Khan said in a statement.

“For too long, I’ve been calling on the Government to ease the burden on families by providing free school meals. I couldn’t wait on ministers any longer. I simply had to act to find emergency funding in this time of crisis.”