New jobs and kitchens to meet school meal rules

PUBLISHED: 21:00 22 August 2014

Pupils pictured having their lunches. St Martin's School, Worle.

Pupils pictured having their lunches. St Martin's School, Worle.

Archant

HALF a million pounds is being spent on new kitchens and cooking equipment for primary schools in Weston and North Somerset.

New legislation means free school meals will be available to all children up to the age of seven attending a state-funded school.

An additional 4,000 meals will be served daily in primary schools from September, taking the total number of free school meals to around 9,000 a day in North Somerset.

More than 50 new jobs have also been created, taking the total number employed in primary school catering to 250.

Government funding of £429,310 and £101,649 from diocese grants is covering the cost of building work, upgrading power supplies and cutlery in 37 of 50 school kitchens.

Work is being carried out over the summer to prepare for the introduction of free school meals for infants in September.

Cllr Jeremy Blatchford, North Somerset Council’s executive member for children and young people’s services, said: “To complete all the necessary work in the six-week summer holiday window is a massive challenge, but our programme of renovation work has made excellent progress.”

Parents and carers who are already entitled to claim free school meals because of their income or circumstances are being urged to still apply for this in the usual way before their child starts school, as this draws in vital funding. Every child entitled to claim free school meals as a benefit, brings £1,300 directly to their school.

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