PRIMARY schools in York are getting ready for a 50 per cent increase in the number of children taking free school meals in September.

The national policy to offer free school meals to all infants – reception to Year 2 children – could increase the number of pupils opting for free school meals from 40 per cent to 63 per cent in York.

Schools have been surveyed and new equipment – such as cutlery, ovens and fridges – has been ordered to make sure they have all they need to cater to the increased numbers.

Some have held trial days to check their readiness and the extra equipment has been bought with a £370,000 grant from the Government.

Mark Ellis, Head of School Services with City of York Council, said: “We’ve been working closely with schools and caterers over the last few months and are confident that all our primary schools will be able to provide the free school meals to those children who want them.”

Cllr Janet Looker, York’s cabinet member for education, said a good diet can help children’s learning, and encouraged parents of infant pupils to take up the free school meals.

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