Thumbs up to free school meals

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Children at a Heysham school have given a big thumbs up to their new free school dinners.

After pupils at St Peter’s Church of England Primary wolfed their way through a choice of chicken pie or Quorn and sweet potato curry, one boy went so far as to say the food was “top notch!”

Children at St Peter's CofE Primary School take part in the new free school meals scheme

Children at St Peter's CofE Primary School take part in the new free school meals scheme

Their glowing report came after the Government introduced free school meals for four to seven-year-olds.

National trials of free school lunches for Key Stage 1 pupils has achieved an uptake of about 87% and in Lancashire the figure is expected to be the same or higher.

David McPartlin, head teacher at St Peter’s, said that at his school, 95 infants were now having school meals compared to 66 last year.

Mr McPartlin also said the number of juniors having school dinners instead of packed lunches had jumped from 60 to 80, even though the older kids were still having to pay £2 per meal.

“This may be because some families have two children at the school, one in the infants and one in the juniors, or because the word is getting out about how good the meals are,” he said.

“It has been challenging as there are a lot of extra children to get through and we’ve had to manage things as efficiently as possible, coping with the same amount of staff.

“The children are trying new things and it is very good food. We never have any complaints. It’s sociable and they enjoy sitting with their friends.

“Parents like it because it saves them money and they don’t have to make packed lunches.”

Will Sim, 10, said: “School meals are very good, I like pretty much everything about them.”

Harry Stainton, six, said: “My favourite is pizza. I also like jelly and ice cream. I always feel full after I’ve eaten a school dinner.”

Lily Easthope, six, said: “I’m getting a jacket potato. I prefer school dinners to packed lunches.”

Other choices throughout the week at St Peter’s include tomato and mascarpone pasta, gammon steak, and roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Desserts, fresh fruit and yoghurt are also on the menu.