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Primary Education: Free School Meals

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what plans he has to extend his Department's free school meals pilot to all primary school-age children; (292378)

(2) which local authorities applied to participate in his Department's pilot scheme for free school meals.

We have no plans to extend the free school meals pilots to all primary school-age children. Pilots in Newham and Durham started this term to test the case for extending free school meals for all primary children and we will want to learn the lessons of those pilots before making decisions on any national extension.

We invited all local authorities and primary care trusts who felt they met the criteria specified to be a pilot area to express an interest in taking part in the pilots. Expressions were received from the following authorities: Barking and Dagenham; Barnsley; Blackburn and Darwen; Bolton; Brighton and Hove; Bristol; Cornwall; Croydon; Dudley; Durham; Gateshead; Halton; Haringey; Hillingdon; Isle of Wight; Kent; Knowsley; Liverpool; Luton; Newham; North Tyneside; Oldham; Reading; Rotherham; Sandwell; Sheffield; Sunderland; Telford and Wrekin; Waltham Forest; Wakefield; West Sussex; Wigan; and Wolverhampton.