The Youth Select Committee has released a report on the impact of the cost of living crisis on young people.

Our Chief Exec. Naomi Duncan reports that: there has been a “significant uptick since January 2020 in the number of children coming into the dining hall who are not entitled to a free school meal, yet they’re coming in without sufficient food from home”.

She also explained that “We know that the evidence shows that kids coming into school and eating a decent, nutritious meal in school has knock-on impacts on cognition, behaviour and attendance. So we know that one of the reasons why extending free school meal entitlement is such a good idea is because it has so many other potential ripple benefits. You can do the converse of that: without that, children find it harder to learn, and attendance and behaviour can suffer”. 

Thanks to the evidence given by Naomi and other leaders and organisations working in the sector, the report recommends that the Government expand the eligibility of Free School Meals to include the estimated 1 million young people who are currently living in food poverty but do not meet the current criteria. It also recommended that the government ring-fence funding for free school meals so that there is consistent provision. 

At Chefs in Schools we believe action is needed now, it’s time for the Government to step up to the plate. Too many children are at risk of going hungry, unable to thrive, with their ability to learn significantly reduced. We hope to see the Government enact these recommendations as all children should have access to great school food. Kids are our future, let’s feed them like it. 

Read the full report here.