Cheltenham’s MP Martin Horwood has welcomed the introduction of free school meals for hundreds of children in the town. From September this year all reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils are entitled to a free meal at lunchtime.
Martin Horwood said: “I think this is one of the most important changes in our education system for a generation. The benefits for children and families will be enormous. Free school meals will improve children's education, make sure they eat more healthy food, and save parents money.”
The policy has been five years in the making with successful pilot schemes which have reaped real benefits in the classroom. Students were found on average to be two months ahead of their peers in areas where school meals were not offered.There was also marked progress in the number of children who hit target levels in Maths and English at Key Stage One.
Martin Horwood added: “It is not just about results in the classroom. There are also social benefits in getting groups of friends to sit and eat together at lunchtime. Eating with friends is so important and I want it to become something youngsters look forward to each day. Once again the pilots showed sitting down for lunch broadened their social skills and taught table manners.