Surge in number of UK children applying for free school meals

Date: 27th October 2020
Category: Child poverty

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Released as part of the joint #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign with Marcus Rashford, new survey data has revealed the equivalent of 2.2 million children aged eight to 17 are registered for free school meals across the UK. It is estimated 42% of these children (900,000) are newly registered.  

The data from the sample survey took place between 8th - 20th September 2020 and included 1,064 children from across the UK.

Despite the spike in demand, schools are struggling to provide hot lunches, with only 32% of all children aged 8-17 saying they were eating hot meals from the canteen, and three percent of children (180,000) saying they skipped lunch entirely.

These figures bolster the calls made by key charities and supported by Marcus Rashford to UK Government to expand the eligibility for free school meals and to provide further support for families facing food insecurity.

  • Find out more about the survey and read the recommendations here.