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35% of Scarborough Borough Primary School Students Eligible for Free Meals

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022 3:47pm

By Anttoni James Numminen, Local Democracy Reporter

More than 2,700 students across primary schools in Scarborough are currently eligible for free school meals.

Of the 2,750 students who are eligible for the free school meals in Scarborough, 75% had made use of them as of October 2021.

This is a substantial portion of the approximately 7,700 students attending primary schools across Scarborough, meaning that Scarborough has a considerably higher portion of eligible students than North Yorkshire.

As the number of eligible students relates only to primary schools where North Yorkshire County Council provides the catering, the figure for the district will likely be even higher, according to the council.

Currently, 16.6 per cent of primary-aged pupils in North Yorkshire receive free school meals whereas in 2017/18 that figure was just 8.8 per cent. The County Council believes that increasingly many families may be eligible for free school meals which it says can save them up to £450 a year.

Earlier this year a campaign was launched by North Yorkshire County Council to encourage everyone eligible for a free school meal to take up the offer.

The campaign has involved highlighting the benefits of free school meals and tackling some of the potential barriers to families in taking up the offer.

This has included making sure allergen information is marked on menus and is easily available to parents of children with allergies and food intolerances, as well as providing menus in different languages.

At Scarborough Council’s people and futures committee meeting last week, councillors also agreed that amid the cost of living crisis, there was a need to better publicise the entitlements that people are eligible to receive.

Later this week North Yorkshire County Council’s Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee will also discuss the allocation of £1.3m of funding for local authorities to continue providing school holiday activities alongside a food offer for children eligible for free school meals.

The scheme, which is intended to provide healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children, can also be used to provide free or subsidised holiday club places for children who are not in receipt of benefits-related free school meals, but who the local authority believes could benefit from the provision.

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