A local authority, or its schools where the school has a delegated budget for meals, has a duty to provide a paid-for meal service where one is requested by a parent, and also a duty to provide free school meals to pupils that are eligible. However, it is for the local authority or the school to decide whether this should take the form of a hot meal or a cold packed lunch as long as the meal complies with the requirements of the nutritional standards for school lunches set out in Regulations.
The Department for Education and Skills does not collect this information. However, the School Food Trust baseline survey of local authorities carried out in March 2006 shows that 72 per cent. of primary and 96.5 per cent. of secondary schools have facilities where food can be prepared from scratch. The School Food Trust is to carry out this survey annually for the next three years.