Social Justice

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.”

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.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices
energy bills
Energy bills

Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices

Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election
Trussell Trust food banks
General election 2024

Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
Department for Work and Pensions

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits

DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants
Department for Work and Pensions

DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know