We believe free school meals should be a universal part of the school experience. As well as preventing and reducing child poverty, the provision of school meals to all pupils has a number of other well-document benefits:
- It helps to tackle inequalities.
- It supports family budgets and home life.
- It boosts learning and attainment.
- It boosts uptake and reduces poverty-related stigma.
- It helps to create bonds in the dining hall through shared meal experiences.
- It supports children’s health by providing a balanced meal each day.
Our briefing makes the case for universal free school meals, and in the short term sets out our argument for:
- Expanding eligibility for free school meals to all families receiving universal credit (or equivalent benefits)
- Extending free school meal entitlements to families with no recourse to public funds permanently
- Retaining universal infant free school meals