Lib Dems criticise Government cuts to universal free school meals support


The Government has axed support that helps small schools with 150 pupils or fewer fund universal free meals for infants.

The Government has axed support that helps small schools with 150 pupils or fewer fund universal free meals for infants.

In 2015/6 the money was worth at least £2,300 for these schools.

Universal Free School Meals were a key Liberal Democrat policy delivered in the Coalition Government to provide every infant child in England with a healthy meal at lunchtime, saving families around £437 per child per year.

Evidence shows that where children have been given a free school dinner, students were months ahead academically of their peers elsewhere. These academic improvements were most marked among children from less affluent families.

Schools with 150 or fewer pupils were this year given a grant worth £2,300 to help deliver the policy.

Liberal Democrat education spokesperson on Oxfordshire County Council, Cllr John Howson said:

"Many schools live with tight budgets and this taken with other government actions could threaten the viability of some small rural schools. Whitehall seemed to care about the bottom line rather than helping the most disadvantaged pupils. They need to put attainment before profit.

"It is a horrific decision and it will both hurt rural communities in Oxfordshire who deserve better than this, especially on top of other cuts to services being imposed by the Tories and small schools in our towns and urban areas"


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