Following the publication of the Conservative Party manifesto proposing the withdrawal of Universal Infant Free School Meals, Food for Life has conducted a survey of UK schools, asking how the potential withdrawal of the policy will impact their pupils and lunch service.
The key findings included:
- Almost 80% of schools surveyed are very concerned about the impact that the potential withdrawal of Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) may have on their overall school lunch service. Less than 3% of schools are unconcerned.
- 37% of all respondents are afraid that their school kitchen might have to close altogether if UIFSM is withdrawn. For schools with in-house catering and less than 200 pupils, this figure rises to 47%
- 91% of respondents believe that pupil health and nutrition would be impacted by the potential withdrawal of UIFSM.
- Contrary to research from Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Educational Endowment Foundation on pupil attainment, 59% of schools surveyed believed that pupil attainment would be negatively impacted by the potential withdrawal of UIFSM, and 60% believed that pupil behaviour would be impacted.
- 97% of respondents do not believe that an offer of a free breakfast for all primary school pupils represents a good alternative to free school lunches for all infants. 75% of schools already have a breakfast club: amongst these schools, the equivalent figure is also 97% (so, even amongst schools already offering breakfast, less than 3% believe that extending breakfast to all pupils and making it free represents a good alternative to UIFSM).