More than 40 charity leaders and education experts have joined celebrities including Marcus Rashford and Jamie Oliver calling for a review of school meals.
The move follows a series of high-profile U-turns by the government over the content of school meals and entitlement over school holidays.
The letter to minister calls on the government to review current eligibility thresholds for meals across all four UK nations “to eliminate disparities”.
The nutritional and educational impact of free school meals also needs to be looked at as well as providing food out of term time and at other points in the day, including breakfast.
Charity leaders signing the letter include The Children’s Society chief executive Mark Russell, Food Foundation executive director Anna Taylor and Judith Cavanagh, coordinator of the End Child Poverty Coalition.
We stand with @MarcusRashford in calling on Government to conduct an URGENT COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW into #FreeSchoolMeals policy across UK nations.— Food Foundation (@Food_Foundation) January 13, 2021
Sticking plasters & short term solutions will not suffice.
Now is the time to act. #EndChildFoodPoverty pic.twitter.com/xsTY8TVGwu
Food Foundation executive director Anna Taylor said: “How our country’s most needy children are fed should be a top government priority.
“School food has lurched from one crisis to another in the last few months. It’s time for a root and branch review to put in place the provision needed and help our children recover from the tragedy which this pandemic has inflicted.”