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Cash from scrapped free school meals to go to failing schools

Michael Gove, Education Secretary, has announced that money saved from scrapping free school meals for primary school children living below the poverty line will be used for a cash fund to turn around failing schools in England, according to The Guardian newspaper.

Dr John Middleton, FPH Vice-President, said: “More should be done to improve struggling schools and we’ll be watching the progress of this scheme with interest.

“However, we don’t think the money should come from the funds that were intended to ensure that the poorest children in England can have at least one nutritious and healthy meal everyday.

"Poor diet is linked to poor performance at school, whereas healthier school meals have been shown to help improve academic performance and attainment. 

“Free school meals can also help reduce health inequalities including preventing childhood obesity. Evidence shows that cardiovascular diseases can originate in childhood, and nutritious school meals are an important measure to give children a chance to learn good eating habits early.”

FPH called on the Government to make school meals free for all under 16 year olds by 2014 in its public health manifesto earlier this year.

In June 2010 FPH co-signed a letter to Michael Gove expressing concern over a decision to axe the extended eligibility for free school meals.

Read The Guardian story.

Written: 04/11/2010 , last modified: 03/02/2011