Government U-turn on School Meals Policies Cause for Concern
However, the policies of previous governments mean that many schools are without kitchens. In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government decreed that schools no longer needed to provide hot meals and Worcestershire’s Tory-controlled county council was one of the first councils to do so.
Primary age children entitled to free school meals were given packets of sandwiches which identified them to other pupils. Kitchens were converted for other uses and new schools were built without them.
Schools without kitchens are now expected to provide free hot meals by September. Some do not have sufficient space to seat pupils for lunch and will need multiple sittings which require more supervision and impact on lesson times.
Government has made funding available for schools to improve their catering facilities, which schools have to apply for. Questions still exist over whether there is enough cash to do the work and whether there is enough time to provide the facilities.
Some Worcestershire schools are to have meals delivered from outside caterers and other schools but that might mean that their meals are lukewarm, not hot, when served.