Good news for parents with school meal price freeze
Meal prices in Derbyshire schools look set to be frozen for the coming academic year - despite rising costs.
Derbyshire County Council is recommending schools keep meal prices at 2012/13 prices when pupils return for the new academic year in September 2014.
It means the price for primary school meals should stay at £1.95, with secondary school meals remaining at £2.30.
The prices are lower than in many neighbouring authorities and are being kept down due to more children choosing to have a school dinner and the authority's catering service working more efficiently.
The authority's deputy leader and cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Kevin Gillott, said:
"The benefits of a nutritious meal at lunchtime are well known. Children concentrate better in the classroom and are ready to learn.
"Family budgets are being squeezed like never before so we have worked hard to keep the cost of providing meals down."
The prize freeze comes as the number of children choosing to have a school meal has gone up in Derbyshire. In the last 12 months, take up has increased:
- By 2.4 % in primary, special and nursery schools - bringing the total to 52.2%;
- By 2.2% in secondary schools − totalling 48%.
More pupils are also taking up their entitlement to a free school meal.
Councillor Gillott said:
"It is important for pupils to enjoy a healthy lunch and that those entitled to free school meals take up the offer. Research shows that hungry children are less likely to do well at school and are more likely to disrupt the classroom.
"We know that many families are struggling financially and we will continue to do all we can to help ease the pressure on families by keeping costs down and recommending schools don't put up the price of meals."
The recommendation to keep the price of school meals the same will be discussed by the county council's Cabinet next Tuesday (August 5).
Responsibility for buying in school meals was given to primary schools in April 2013 having already been given to secondary schools in 2000.
From this September, all infant school children will be able to get a free school meal.
Parents and carers with older children can also get free schools meals if they are on any of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or an Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit (with an annual income of less than £16,190).
Parents can't claim free school meals if they claim Working Tax Credit.
For more information and to apply online visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals (opens in a new window)
Currently, the authority provides school meals to around 98% of Derbyshire primary schools and 48% of secondary schools, which equates to 38,000 meals a day in 385 schools.