Councils still assessing whether schools will be ready for free meals for infants

Councils are assessing how ready schools are for the introduction of free schools meals for infants. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire Councils are assessing how ready schools are for the introduction of free schools meals for infants. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
7:00 AM

Five months before the introduction of free school meals for infants, councils are still assessing how ready their schools are.

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Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg last year announced all infants will be entitled to free schools meals from September 2014, but there has been concern about whether schools are ready for the new policy.

Norfolk County Council said it is in the middle of an assessment of all schools, which will determine which are in priority need of an upgrade.

Although it does not know how many schools do not have a kitchen, Norse provides catering services to 117 primary school dining centres which do not have full on-site kitchens. However, it said not every school which lacks a kitchen will need an upgrade.

The council has received £1.9m of government funding, which it said it will prioritise to allow schools to meet their duty.

Cambridgeshire County Council also said school requirements are currently being assessed.

It will receive £1.431m from the government for the implementation of universal infant free school meals, and warned there is no additional funding available from Cambridgeshire County Council, so any additional requirements would have to be met by individual schools.

Suffolk County Council said 239 kitchens or dining centres in primary schools need additional or new equipment, from fridges and freezers to cooking and service equipment. Seven kitchens or dining centres will need to be upgraded, extended or re-designed.

It has received £1.745m of government funding.

5 comments

  • To dpc .... So they reach the age of 7 when free school meals finish and they'll all be healthy? Yeah right. I would suggest that if parents don't know or don't care what makes a healthy meal then they shouldn't be having children.

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    samphirelover

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • Ridiculous idea to even provide free school meals. People on benefits can afford mobile phones, satellite dishes and their fags and booze so they can afford to pay for their children to eat. People earning good salaries should be able to provide for their children too. Why should the rest of us have to,pay and why are kids still being made to eat off plastic prisoners trays. Disgusting.

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    samphirelover

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • Some people really need to think before they post!!! The Free School meals is to get kids starting to eat healthy its realizing that the NHS is being overwhelmed by problems that are soley related to diet and by trying to tackle this problem from a young age by giving Children a Free healthy school diner is the start, not solution by any means. This has nothing to do with benefits or mobile phones or who can afford to pay its about trying to get kids to eat healthy. And the reason they use plastic tray is simple there cheap, easy to store, easy to clean, lightweight, small children can carry them and they hold everything on the tray, It makes common sense to use them.

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    dpc

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • Some people really need to think before they post!!! The Free School meals is to get kids starting to eat healthy its realizing that the NHS is being overwhelmed by problems that are soley related to diet and by trying to tackle this problem from a young age by giving Children a Free healthy school diner is the start, not solution by any means. This has nothing to do with benefits or mobile phones or who can afford to pay its about trying to get kids to eat healthy. And the reason they use plastic tray is simple there cheap, easy to store, easy to clean, lightweight, small children can carry them and they hold everything on the tray, It makes common sense to use them.

    Report this comment

    dpc

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • I have no real problem with this use of my taxes but I fear it could be costly to ensure children who cannot have dairy or nuts or have been diagnosed as coeliac don't have food they shouldn't. You cannot expect a 4 year old to know what is put in each meal especially if Mum makes her own safe version at home. This could be a greater problem if meals are cooked off site.

    Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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