1.2 million children missing out on free school meals
New research released by the Children’s Society today has revealed that more than half (1.2 million) of all school children who live in poverty are missing out on free school meals.
by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 19th April 2012
The statistics come from the Society’s ‘Fair and Square’ campaign, which has also revealed that 700,000 children from the poorest families are not entitled to free meals at all. Their research has found that 91% of adults believe that all children living in poverty should receive free school meals, and they are today launching a campaign to ensure that every one of the 2.2 million children living in poverty receives a free school meal.
The Society says in their research that a free school meal provides ‘vital financial support’ for families with low incomes, and for almost one third of children is their main meal of the day. Currently, single parents who work for 16 hours or more per week (24 hours for a couple) lose the free meal entitlement, and according to the statistics almost half have concerns about additional working hours. Free meal eligibility has a direct impact on the decision of 60%.
The Children’s Society’s Campaign for Childhood Director, Elaine Hindal, said: ‘We have shown that there are literally hundreds of thousands of children living below the poverty line who aren’t getting a free school meal. There is no reasonable defence for this policy failure. The government has an unique opportunity to extend free school meals to all low-income working families, so that no child living in poverty misses out. This would be in line with the government’s aim to make work pay by paving the way for many families to return to employment and help lift them out of poverty.’
Photography: Rubbermaid Products @Flickr