School dinners for poorer kids 365 days a year introduced in pioneering pilot

The Daily Record reports that a council are to tackle Tory attacks on the poor by becoming the first in the UK to provide free meals to vulnerable kids 365 days a year.

Any child within the North Lanarkshire Council area who qualifies for free school meals will have that provision extended to the 175 days that cover weekends and school holidays.

The council’s “Food 365” programme is geared to tackle welfare reforms that tackle the poorest in society.

The scheme will be piloted in Coatbridge during this year’s spring break and will be open to 16,000 pupils, costing an expected £500,000 a year.

The measures – expected to be approved at the council’s Education Committee on Tuesday – would then be rolled out throughout the authority in time for the summer holidays.

Teresa Verrechia, head teacher of St Dominic’s Primary School in Airdrie, backed the initiative.

She said: “The importance of a healthy diet in the development of young children can’t be ­underestimated. Pupils who eat a nutritious, balanced diet show far better levels of concentration and it helps their overall growth and development.”

While some councils in the UK have committed to holiday programmes, these do not include weekends, so North Lanarkshire’s would be the most comprehensive in the country.

Read more School dinners for poorer kids 365 days a year introduced in pioneering pilot

A great idea but what is the likelihood of this being expanded into poorer parts in the rest of the UK? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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