Free school meals for secondary students

In a policy pledge before the upcoming Mayor of London election, Green Candidate Zoë Garbett vowed to make school meals free for all children across London in both primary and secondary school.

This policy would go further than Labour’s pledge to provide free school meals only to primary aged children and would apply to all children in state-funded secondary education.

As the price of food has soared along with basic essentials, families already struggling are facing the horrible prospect of being forced to cut back even on weekday lunches for their school-aged children (1).

Zoë said, “No child should be hungry, ever,  but especially not at such a crucial time in their education. It’s not just about stomachs rumbling in class, this is about correcting a deep and damaging injustice in our education system.

“Universal free school meals for all our children in London just makes sense, it’s fair, it removes the stigma around claiming this benefit and it ensures our kids always have the option of a hot, nutritious meal on offer.

“Families being hammered by the cost of living crisis, the pitiful state of our employment sector rife with insecure and underpaid jobs and substandard and expensive homes don’t get any relief when their children leave primary school, so it doesn’t make sense to stop this support.

“With 40 per cent of London children in food insecurity, their parents and carers are right to demand that all their children are fed at school – not just the ones in primary.

“I pledge to fix this gap with proper, long-term funding and expand universal free school meals to all children in state-funded secondary education. No child will go hungry under a Green Mayor.”

On a recent visit to Westminster House Youth Club in Nunhead, the Green Party candidate spoke to parents and grandparents about the challenges they face.

Speaking on the importance of free school meals, one grandparent, Mabel, told Zoë, “if a child is not well-fed, they are not going to concentrate.

“We have to make sure they have free school dinners to sustain them for the day. Eight hours is a long time, and some children might not even eat before they leave home – some even don’t eat the night before and are hoping that the next morning they will get food.

“Kids know that at school, there is hope, they will get something to eat. So that’s it – when a child is well-fed, they will be able to concentrate.”


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