Tories to promise schools an extra £650m a year by scrapping free infant lunches.

The TES reports that free breakfasts for all primary pupils to be introduced instead in plan that party says will protect all schools in cash terms under a new national funding formula. 

The Conservatives are to promise schools an extra £650m a year by replacing universal free lunches for infants with free school breakfasts for all primary pupils. The party reportedly says the plan, expected to be unveiled in its manifesto later today, will mean that no school loses out in cash terms under the new national schools funding formula.

It is part of a package that would boost school funding by £4bn over the next Parliament. However it may still not be enough to protect schools from the cost pressures that are leading to growing numbers of teacher job losses.  

As well as the £650m saving from scrapping universal infant free school lunches, there would be £200m from “better systems” for the Student Loans Companies, £160m from “departmental  efficiencies” in Whitehall and £10m from the levy on sugary drinks.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that it would take an annual £350m to ensure that no school loses out from the formula alone if it is introduced from 2019/20. So the Conservative money should be enough to achieve that aim. But ensuring that school budgets do not fall in real terms may require more.

The Conservatives plan to end universal free lunches for infants comes in contrast to the other two main parties who have both said they would extend the scheme to all primary pupils.

Lib Dem education spokeswoman Sarah Olney said: “Margaret Thatcher was know as the ‘milk snatcher’. Theresa May will go down as the lunch snatcher.”

Read more Tories to promise schools an extra £650m a year by scrapping free infant lunches.

How will this effect your pupils? Last year the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that breakfast clubs, which cost roughly a tenth as much as providing school lunches, could generate ‘roughly equal’ benefits in attainment. Do you think that this is true? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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