ASCL responds to government refusal to move on free school meals

26/10/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the government’s continued refusal to extend free school meal provision over the half-term holiday.
 
Responding to the government’s continued refusal to extend free school meal provision over the half-term holiday, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“We are dismayed by the government’s continued refusal to extend free school meal provision over the half-term holiday. It is perfectly obvious that the Covid emergency has increased both the extent and depth of poverty among families and that many more children are at risk of holiday hunger.
 
“The fact that we have seen such an outpouring of help from businesses, charities and local authorities over the past few days to fill the void left by the government is fantastic news and we are incredibly grateful to all concerned. But this should never have been necessary and the government must swallow its pride, reverse course, and guarantee free school meal provision during holiday periods throughout the Covid emergency.
 
“This issue has shone a light on the hardship faced by many families not only now but in normal times. It is shameful that in a wealthy nation likes ours, holiday hunger is a fact of life for far too many children. In the longer term, the government must do more to tackle child poverty, and a good starting point would be to extend free school meal provision to holiday periods on a permanent basis.”