Extended Services and Free School Meals

Department for Education written question – answered on 28th September 2022.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of schools offering (a) breakfast clubs and (b) after school clubs; and if he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the availability of free school meals.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Minister of State (Education)

The department is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs, and we are investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme until the end of the summer term in 2023. This funding will support up to 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas, meaning that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment, wellbeing, and readiness to learn.

Wraparound childcare is also important for removing barriers for, and supporting, parents to work. Therefore, the department strongly encourages all schools to offer before and after-school provision for their pupils. Parents have a right to request that the school their child attends provides wraparound childcare, and schools should not refuse a request without a reasonable justification, such as lack of demand.

The department does not have any plans to hold discussions with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but we will continue to keep free school meal eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

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