A West London council is giving free school meals to every single child

The scheme will be funded by cash from property developers after Hammersmith and Fulham council introduced strict planning permission conditions

Hammersmith and Fulham council has launched a pilot scheme which gives all pupils free breakfast and lunch irrespective of their background.

Free breakfasts will be made available for free for all primary school pupils in the area from September.

And from January next year, pupils at two secondary schools in the area will take part in a free lunches pilot – regardless of their family’s income.

Council leader Stephen Cowan said: “It’s appalling that children are still going to school hungry in one of the world’s wealthiest capitals. We must put an end to that.

“Our schools are now the frontline in our war against hunger.”

The scheme, the first of its kind in England and Wales, is expected to benefit 10,700 children. It will be funded by cash paid by property developers to the council as part of planning permission conditions.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “We all want children to get the most out of their education. But research we published with UCL shows that too many kids are routinely going hungry during the school day because there isn’t enough money at home. That isn’t right.

“Poverty and hunger exclude children from some learning and social opportunities and leave them exposed to stigma and shame. Hammersmith and Fulham’s pilot recognises the scale of the problem and strives to address it head on.”

DID YOU KNOW…

In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.

Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Education Endowment Foundation showed that a high-quality breakfast club can result in a two-month attainment gain for year 2s and year 6s.

Claire Maynard, headteacher at Woodlane High School, said: “The pilot means our most vulnerable pupils can always gain a hot, nutritious meal without stigma.

“While it is widely known that hunger can impact on progress, attainment and behaviour, the impact on families is likely to prove a significant boost in challenging financial times.”