The Guardian is reporting that the percentage of pupils receiving free school meals has dropped from 15.6% last year to 14.5% in primary schools, and from 15.2% to 14.3% in secondary schools.
The DfE said the FSM decline was occurring “in a large number of areas across the country and is related to there being fewer parents than previously claiming the benefits which would make their children eligible for free school meals”.
Jo Nicholas, head of research for the Children’s Food Trust, said the proportion of eligible pupils who received free lunches had dropped from nearly 87% to 83% in the course of a year.
“This is a real worry and in the coming months we want to look into the reasons for this – we don’t want any child living in poverty to miss out on a nutritious meal at school,” Nicholas said.
A spokesperson for the DfE said: “We want all disadvantaged children to have access to the free nutritious daily meal to which they are entitled. As the economy improves and more parents find work, this leads to a decrease in the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals.”
Why do you think fewer parents are claiming free school meals for their children? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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