Children missing out on free school meals
New research by The Children’s Society has revealed that huge numbers of children in poverty throughout the country are missing out on free school meals.
The new analysis reveals a stark picture for children living in poverty across England. It found that in 57 constituencies alone, more than six in 10 children in poverty are not getting a free school meal. In some areas more than two-thirds of children in poverty missing out on free school meals.
The highest proportion of children in poverty missing out on free school meals are in the east, southeast, southwest and London. The joint top two constituencies are Horsham, and Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, at 69%, closely followed by Mitcham and Morden, and Arundel and South Downs at 68%.
Of England’s 533 constituencies, only 22 have fewer than 10% of children in poverty missing out on free school meals.
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, said: "It is shocking that huge numbers of children in poverty across the country are missing out on a free school meal. Every child in poverty should be entitled to this vital support.
"We know from the families we work with up and down the country that parents are struggling to make ends meet. Right now, the government is reconsidering which children will be entitled to get free school meals. We urge the government to take this opportunity to make sure all children in poverty can get a free school meal."
It is estimated that across the country, more than half of the 2.2 million school children living in poverty in England miss out on a free school meal every day. Of these, 700,000 are not entitled to one.
Families are normally entitled to get free school meals if they have a lone parent working below 16 hours a week, or fewer than 24 hours a week for a couple. If their parents work more than this, children will not get a free school meal, no matter how little their parents earn.
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