60% of children in our school are entitled to free school meals, they all take-up that opportunity because of the quality of the food and the education they receive. We all enjoy eating healthy lunches!
Mary Hall, headteacher
Park End Primary School, Middlesborough
Good for tackling inequalities
"Evidence points towards the FFLP’s potential to contribute to ... helping ‘close the gap’ for disadvantaged children in terms of their health and academic attainment." (Teeman et al, 2011, p.52)
Effective in areas of high deprivation
- "FFLP schools tended to be situated in areas with high levels of deprivation. In particular almost half the FFLP Flagship primary schools were in wards in the top two quintiles for deprivation. With an average increase of 13 percentage points after two years, free school meal take-up has markedly increased for FFLP Flagship Schools. This is reflected in primary schools with high free school meal eligibility (top FSM quintile, n=8) where overall take-up increased by 6.6%,from 49.5% to 56.1%. These trends suggest that participation in the FFLP Flagship programme has been effective for schools within areas of high social deprivation” (Orme et al, 2011, p.94).
- "Activities associated with FFLP attracted high levels of parent engagement and acted as a basis for involving a wide range of parents in school life.This is important given the recognised challenges schools face particularly within deprived communities in successfully engaging and retaining parental involvement" (Orme et al,2011, p.169).
School meals for all
- FFLP interventions may be of greatest significance to the most disadvantaged children: “Children from lower socioeconomic groups or disadvantaged communities are particularly vulnerable to obesity and more likely to experience poor diets” (Orme et al, 2011, p.8).
- The FFLP model has given a powerful boost to attempts to increase take-up of free school meals in disadvantaged communities. Nationally over the two year period of evaluation (2007/8–2009/10) free school meal take-upwent up by an average of 13 percentage points in FFLP schools (Orme et al, 2011, p.93). For comparison, national background figures available for the year 2008/9-2009/10 show that free school meal take-up was fairly static in primary schools (79.3%-79.5%) and increased slightly in secondary schools(65.7%-68.4%).
- The strongest increases in free school meal take-up occurred in FFLP secondary schools (20.9%) and in schools achieving FFLP’s Silver or Gold award (21%) (Orme et al, 2011, p.100).