Kate Green opened her account in the Commons by championing pilots showing improved outcomes for junior school children on universal free school meals.
Will the Secretary of State confirm that he is aware of some of the successful pilots that have been attempted in recent years to provide free school meals on a universal basis in some of our primary schools? Will he confirm that the educational and health gains that have been seen as a result of those pilots will now be taken forward, and that his Government will commit to continuing the pilots that the previous Government announced?
Michael Gove (Secretary of State, Education; Surrey Heath, Conservative)
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question. I know that in her previous incarnation, in the Child Poverty Action Group, she was a committed fighter for the very poorest children. We are now looking to ensure that we can guarantee that those children most in need receive support with free school meals, and we are examining the evidence that has come in from the pilots that she has mentioned.
As a Gorse Hill councillor, I fully support Kate’s advocacy of improved provision for children. The pilots have shown improved takeup of school meals and I recognise how beneficial that this can be in children’s attainment.