St John the Baptist Primary School providing free school meals for all students to ease financial burden on parents
- Credit: Archant
A primary school is looking to ease the financial burden on parents by offering free meals to all of its pupils.
From the start of the summer term St John the Baptist Primary School will be the first school across the borough to provide free meals for all students between the ages of seven and 11, regardless of whether they are eligible to receive them in line with Hackney Council’s guidelines.
Headteacher Alyson Tyler said that two thirds of families at the Crondall Street primary school are in “serious deprivation”, due to issues such as unemployment and overcrowding.
Although St John’s is losing “a little bit” of money due to the government’s funding formula, the school is not in a position where it needs to make staff redundant.
The school has been seeking advice from financial advisors and social justice organisation Citizens UK to make sure it was in a position to supplement meals for families, who are set to save £370 per child every year from the scheme.
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Alyson said: “We know how difficult juggling the demands of family life can be, especially financially.
“We wanted to offer tangible, practical help to families who really care about their children’s welfare at school.
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“The response has been amazing and we haven’t even started the scheme yet. People have been saying what a difference it will make. If the scheme proves to be popular, we may got more interest in the school, but we can certainly welcome extra children here.
“It would be amazing if schools across Hackney can follow our lead because I believe it can make a huge impact to families who may be struggling.”
This week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his intentions to extend free school meals to all primary school pupils. Islington Council already provides free school meals for children up to the age of 11.
In Hackney all children starting school in the reception class, Year 1 or Year 2 of state maintained primary schools get a free meal regardless of income, with families thereafter having to apply for eligibility.
For more information about the scheme – which starts on Monday, April 18 – call 020 7739 4902 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.