Presidency joins call for free school meals for all children in primary school

22 September 2022

The Revd Graham Thompson and Anthony Boateng, the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, have joined over 100 leaders from civil society to call on the Government to extend free school meals to every child in primary school in England. 

In an open letter, organised by the National Education Union’s No Child Left Behind campaign a diverse coalition of groups which include the Mayors of London and Manchester, trade union leaders and medical professionals, say:

"We are living through the greatest cost of living crisis in a generation, and too many families with young children are being pulled into poverty. Free school meals for every child will put money back in parents’ pockets. That’s money they can use to pay for other essentials for their children, from heating and food at home to hobbies and afterschool clubs.

"Teachers and support staff see the difference a healthy school dinner makes. When children are hungry, they can’t learn. It’s hard for them to concentrate and harder for them to reach their potential. Free School Meals for all would mean every child can learn and succeed."

Last year around 2.6 million children in the UK lived in households that went short of food. In England, for the first three years of school, every child gets a free school meal and no child wants for food while they are at school. This stops after Year 2. In 2020, Scotland pledged to extend free school meals to every child in primary. In 2021, Wales promised families they will do the same. 

The letter calls for this action:

"Providing a Free School Meal for every child in primary school will ensure all children can flourish and no child is left behind. Prime Minister, will you commit to extending Free School Meals to every child in primary school?"

Find out here how you can join the call for #FreeSchoolMealsForAll.

Watch our short film from South London Mission which works with local partners to create meal kit boxes for local school children to take home and make with their families.