Posted: 16.04.19 at 11:29 by The Editor
Stamford parents have been reminded about free school meals available for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes.
The healthy hot meals are provided as part of the Government’s universal infant free school meal programme but staff from Lincolnshire County Councils food education team are concerned that some may be missing out.
They say as well as the health and nutrition benefits, there are lots of other advantages for children, parents and schools:
A balanced diet for your child
The council’s food education team are passionate about encouraging a healthy, balanced diet to help a child’s development.In particular, eating well has been shown to help maintain concentration levels and aid learning.
As regards quality, all schools must now comply with national school food standards, which ensure meals are healthy and nutritious, as well as being tasty.
In particular, a variety of fruit and vegetables is provided every day, together with a selection of healthy options and special diets.
Saving you time and money
Executive councillor for children’s services,Cllr Mrs Patricia Bradwell said: “Families often don’t realise how much they spend on packed lunches.
“On average, families can save £437 per year on universal infant school meals and free school meals.” For those with fussy eaters, she said: “Today’s school meal experience is a long way from what parents might remember from their own school days!
“Parents can now select their children’s meals in advance. They will also find that eating with friends will encourage youngsters to try new things!
“You can also save precious time by not having to make a packed lunch for them every day!”
Extra funding for their school
Some families may be eligible for free school meals if they are in receipt of certain benefits.
The more people who apply for hot meals, the more money the school can access through funding called Pupil Premium.
This vital extra funding - £1,320 per eligible primary child and £935 per eligible secondary child - can be used on all kinds of extra resources to benefit your child’s education.
These may include staffing, equipment or even after-school activities. It’s easy to apply using the council’s website. And the more people who apply, the more pupils, families and schools can benefit.
Continuing with school meals
Once your child moves into Year 3 or above, why not think about carrying on with hot school meals?
Cllr Bradwell added: “There really are lots of reasons to consider continuing with school meals. Besides nutrition, health and wellbeing for your child, there’s extra convenience for parents - and even possible financial benefits for the school.”
About school food standards
The national school food standards aim to ensure that hot school meals:
Help children develop healthy eating habits
Give them the energy and nutrition they need across the whole school day
Not only look good, but taste delicious!
Offer a wide range of food across the week, with a variety of different fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, meat and fish
Are made from fresh, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients
The meals can also be used to talk to children about what they are eating - they love
to hear stories about their food!
While packed lunches can offer a balanced diet, research shows that only 1.6% of
children’s lunch boxes are meeting basic nutritional standards.
A report by the University of Leeds also suggests that only 20% contain any
vegetables or salad.
For more information and to apply, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals