More pupils now eligible for free school meals

11/08/2009 - 00:00
The number of children now eligible for free school meals has increased by over 21,000 in a year, new government figures show.

Statistics from the Department for Children, Schools and Families highlight how the recession is sending more children below the bread line. There are now 15,080 more primary school children eligible for free meals compared to 2008.
Over 5,700 additional kids attending secondary schools now qualify and the number rose by 610 in special schools. As unemployment rises, child poverty charities are urging parents to look into whether or not their children have become eligible. Chris Wainwright of the School Food Trust warned that despite these figures more needs to be done to eradicate child poverty: "We must not forget the 400,000 children classed as living in poverty but who are still not eligible for free school meals. We must widen the eligibility net to ensure all children who need free school meals receive them." As it currently stands, families who qualify for free school meals must have an income lower than £16,000 a year, including benefits.

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