All school children under the age of 11 will be entitled to free school meals under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans announced this week.
Extending free school meals to children aged seven to 11 will benefit 1.9 million children and save parents around £400 per child a year. The proposal builds upon the offer of free school meals to all five, six and seven year old pupils already delivered by the Liberal Democrats in Government last year.
Pilot studies have shown that a hot, healthy meal at lunchtime greatly improves the health, behaviour and results of school children, providing them with the best start in life. When free school meals were first introduced, between 3 per cent and 5 per cent more children reached target levels in maths and English at Key Stage 1, showing that the school meal initiative will help kids to fulfil their potential.
Commenting on the proposals, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg said: "The Liberal Democrats want every child to have the best possible start in life. That’s why I want every child to have a hot, healthy school lunch. We know that giving children a healthy lunch helps them to concentrate in the afternoon and do better in class. It will also save parents £400 for every child they have in primary school."
Liberal Democrat candidate for Guildford, Kelly-Marie Blundell, added: “3,200 children in Guildford are already reaping the benefits arising from free school meals. Well-fed children are energetic, enthusiastic and engaged with their studies which translates into improved results. The extension of this scheme to cover all primary school children is good news. Any step that boosts the educational attainment of our future workforce can only be good news in today’s globally competitive world.”