6 April 2017
Commenting on the Labour Party pledge to expand free school meals to every primary school pupil, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This is a good idea from the Labour Party. All too often teachers see the impact that hunger has on their pupils. It affects their concentration and ability to learn and their physical and mental health and wellbeing. The benefits of a healthy and nutritious school lunch are well documented and for the 4 million children living in poverty – nine pupils in every class of 30 – this may well be their main meal of the day.
“At a time when yet more families are affected by cuts to benefits, and in-work poverty is soaring, the cost of school lunches can be prohibitive. Universal free school meals would ensure that all children have a meal in the middle of the day, bringing health and educational benefits. It would reduce the stigma attached to free school meals and would cut down on administration for schools. While this initiative will make a big difference to the lives of pupils, all political parties need to commit to ensuring overall school budgets are increased to stem the funding crisis they are currently facing.”