Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt served school dinners to kids at Cranmore Infant School to mark the introduction of universal free school meals.
As of this September all children in School Years 1 and 2 are eligible for free school meals, a policy announced at Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference last year.
Universal free school meals will save families over £400 per child each year and have been shown by independent research to improve children’s learning.
Mrs Burt has written to all primary schools in Solihull to ask whether they are successfully implementing the policy and so far all their responses have been positive. The government has provided £150 million to help schools make the transition.
Mrs Burt said, “A healthy hot meal helps children concentrate and succeed in the classroom. It improves behaviour and helps give kids the best life chances as they grow up.
“It was a joy to see the kids at Cranmore tucking into their healthy lunches and really enjoying them too.”
Rebecca Ward, Head Teacher at Cranmore Infant School, said, “We have successfully introduced universal free school meals for all at Cranmore and it was lovely to be able to share lunchtime with a special visitor.
“Lorely was keen to embrace the whole lunchtime experience and she served children at the hatch before joining a group of children for lunch.
“Lunchtime is an important part of our school day when children and staff come together to enjoy a healthy lunch and we have endeavoured to create a unique and fun dining experience for all our children.”
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said, “The extension of free school meals to all infants in the country is a positive step in the fight against child poverty.
“Our analysis shows that about 160,000 more children in poverty will be getting this vital support as a result of this historic move. It shows that the Government recognises the hardship that thousands of families are facing.”
Schools Minister David Laws said, “The evidence is clear. Providing children with nutritious and delicious meals gives them the fuel they need to excel both inside and outside the classroom, while making them more likely to opt for fruit and vegetables at lunchtime rather than junk food such as crisps.”