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Thornhill school heard it first: Government will fund free school meals

April 1, 2010

Cabinet Minister for schools, Ed Balls MP with Emily Thornberry MP, Cllr Catherine West and staff and pupils at Thornhill primary school

Thornhill primary school this morning welcomed Ed Balls MP, the Secretary of State for Schools, as he announced that the Government will underwrite the funding for the Borough’s innovative scheme to provide a free school meal to every child in primary schools.

The Schools Secretary joined Emily Thornberry MP, Labour Group leader Cllr Catherine West and many local Councillors to announce that Islington will receive £1.6 million of support for free school meals for all primary school children. Islington’s innovative scheme will now become part of a Government pilot – along with Newham, Durham, Bradford and Nottingham.

Labour Leader, Catherine West says “this support from the Labour Government is a sign of just how much of a success free school meals for all at primary school has been.  But despite that success, and with the local elections just five weeks away, the Liberal Democrats are still threatening to take it away.”

Caledonian ward’s Charlynne Pullen adds “after several months of study in the first six schools in Islington, experts have found that more children are eating a healthy lunch. That is a real boost for the health, education and behaviour of the whole class.

“Early results also reveal that more of the very lowest income children, who could have had free school meals anyway, are now taking them up.  Whether that is because of lifting an unfair stigma or just because too many people never realised their children were entitled, it shows our policy is a success.

“But we can only continue to provide free school meals for all primary school children with your support.The Liberal Democrats may run the Council, but since our historic budget victory last year, they have been unable to defeat the free school meals initiative.  But if they win the election, the Lib Dems have said that they will take it away.”

You can support our campaign to permanently safeguard free school meals by going to www.islington-labour.org.uk/free-school-meals

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