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Hannah O'Neill: Jamie Oliver is right about Conservatives School Meals Axe.

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The Conservatives plan to end free school meals for younger children of primary schools. This would hit the infants in the first 3 school years.  According to the BBC (19 May 2017) High profile Chef and School food campaigner Jamie Oliver has labelled Theresa May's plan to axe free school meals for infants "a disgrace".i

Research by the Education Policy Institute concludes that about 900,000 children nationally who are either eligible for the pupil premium supplement or classed as being in ordinary working families will lose the right to a free hot lunch.ii

An example of how this would impact on one local school: Langland Community School

There are 355 children aged under 3 - 11 at Langland Community School on Netherfield. Of these 202 get free school meals (57%) This tells you that the catchment area serving this well loved school is in an economically poor community. One of the 30% poorest areas in the Country

The TV chef, who led a successful campaign to improve the quality of school food, said the move "put future generations at risk".

He said: "It's a fact. Children perform better after eating a decent lunch."

The Conservatives want to axe the free meals in order to save money and plug gaps in England's school finances that they have caused through under funding. Yet Langland Community School is already set to lose £119,255 up to 2020 as a result of the new schools funding formula.

Cllr Hannah O’Neill, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South who represents the Langland School area, said “I agree with Jamie Oliver free school meals are vital for somewhere like Langland School. Parents and teachers work well together to enhance opportunities for the children and a good healthy meal helps improve the long term health and achievements of the children.

 "This is a disgrace."

Jamie Oliver also added: "This move shows a complete lack of understanding of all the data that's been shared and puts our future generations at huge risk, as well as further undermining our teachers who benefit from well-fed kids.

Hannah O’Neill has also highlighted the top 5 primary schools in her Parliamentary area with high school meal levels and hit by the proposed Double Whammy of ending School Meals and funding cuts. They are:

Top 5 Primary School Free School Meal losers in Milton Keynes South constituency

 

School 

% 

Free School Meals 

Lost Money per school. 

% Loss 

Per school  

Loss per pupil 

1 

Water Hall Primary School 

59% 

-£224,136 

-14% 

-£718 

2 

Greenleys Junior School 

59% 

-£159,381 

-15% 

-£793 

3 

Queen Eleanor Primary School 

57% 

-£154,233 

-14% 

-£795 

4 

Langland Community School 

57% 

-£119,255 

-8% 

-£370 

5 

Drayton Park School 

55% 

-£164,914 

-11% 

-£542 

Cllr O’Neill concluded, “What sort of Government cuts Free school Meals and also cuts school budgets. A Conservative one! I would like to thank Jamie Oliver for speaking out and putting the case for healthy eating.”

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