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Free school meals for all pupils in Southwark despite cuts

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Friday 15 April 2011 2.32pm
Southwark residents are seeing their front line services cut, whilst laying on free food for pupils from wealthy households in Southwark and pupils from across London - it doesn't make sense to me.
I'm not sure about the barriers idea either.
Friday 15 April 2011 3.11pm
The main bulk of the cuts arise from central government's reduction in grant to councils and their bribing them into freezing council tax rather than the decision to honour the school meals promise (however you feel about it).

graham wrote:
I'm not sure about the barriers idea either.

Have you seen people from Lewisham?! You'll come around to the idea I'm sure.
Friday 15 April 2011 3.33pm
maybe the council could cut its pension liabilites or improve productivity of its staff...or are these already being done...and avoid hitting front line services
Sunday 17 April 2011 9.20am
School governors hat on here - this was an election pledge which they had to stick to. However whilst everyone agrees that healthy meals are essential for children, there is no evidence base to support the idea that free school meals for all makes a difference to either health or academic attainment. It is one of those ideas that sounds great but in the context of having to make savings and tough decisions on the basis of hard evidence in other areas, this is exposed for what it is/was - a (not cheap) election gimmick, touted outside most primary schools during the election campaign. Furthermore, as a governor under pressure from parents who voted for this and are now asking for free meals for the children, the cost was also underestimated. Most primary schools kitchens do not have the capacity to produce meals for all children so there will be a capital cost which they did not account for and published figures do not account for. The revenue cost also fails to take into account the continuing nutritional evaluation necessary to assess whether it actually does any good. Finally one of the things we know does work - Southwark Community Games - has been cut in order to (part) fund this.
Monday 9 July 2012 8.24pm
Have Southwark gone back on this or at least changed the terms a little - it was handed out to Reception and Year One (I think) automatically but now, although it's been extended to Year 4, it appears that you has to ask for it and provide some information, although not clear what:

http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200333/financial_support/1046/free_healthy_school_meals/2
Monday 9 July 2012 9.09pm
there is no such thing as a "free" lunch. someone somewhere is paying the cost
Monday 9 July 2012 11.35pm
Emma, Southwark are providing free school lunches for all up to year 4 now, and from September 2013 for all children up to year 6.

Our daughter will start this year in reception and we did not have to supply any additional information, there was a form in her starter pack which we signed.
Tuesday 10 July 2012 9.19am
graham wrote:
Southwark residents are seeing their front line services cut, whilst laying on free food for pupils from wealthy households in Southwark and pupils from across London - it doesn't make sense to me.
I'm not sure about the barriers idea either.

how do you measure wealth? many people on average incomes are struggling at the moment (as it is these people that have bourne the brunt of the cuts per most analysis). Disposable income has fallen sharply and would not need be entitled to free school meals-is it not better to make sure all our kids get at least one cooked meal a day?
Tuesday 10 July 2012 10.58am
Wealth and income.
Should we move taxation from income to wealth?
Georgism click here
Making cuts to nursery provision and other services to fund free meals is plain weird.
If it stops families cooking and eating together, it might even be counter-productive.
Tuesday 10 July 2012 2.02pm
BBC breakfast recently talked about the amount of kids going to school without breakfast as their parents either could not afford to buy it, had to go to work so were not there to provide it or in some cases just did not care. My concern is that all kids should get at least one hot meal a day and this makes sure they get it. Parents who have struggled to afford a mortgage for example in this area and in real terms earn a decent income under present economic conditions may have very low disposable income after paying their bills find it more of a struggle to provide thier kids with adequate food and nutrition than those on benefits who would be entitled to free school meals
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