More schools in Bucks are to receive free school lunches from September.
All 160 of the county’s infant and combined schools will be ready to receive a nutritious school lunch from the beginning of the new school year after Bucks County Council received a £1.1 million capital grant from the government.
Eighty Bucks infant and combined schools already serve meals every day due to a ‘hub and satellite’ arrangement where seven hub kitchens around the county, serve 80 satellite schools.
This arrangement has seen a 45 per cent pupil take-up. The kitchens have been given extra capacity to handle additional demand.
Seventeen schools already have their own private providers, who are ready to meet the demand in September.
Of the remaining 63, 10 schools are creating their own solutions and the other 53 are exploring two potential ‘super kitchen’ providers, who would provide plated meals with no waste and no washing up. Sample tastings will take place over the next two or three weeks.
Simon Brown, Bucks County Council’s operations manager joint commissioning, said: “Our fantastic chef led hub and satellite system has given us a strong basis on which to build.
“We’ll be in a position to serve nutritious meals to all 20,000 Key Stage 1 pupils in our schools, within budget, many of which have no catering facilities. And that has, on occasions, stretched the extents of our creativity and resourcefulness, but we rose to the challenge and we’re almost there!”
Mike Appleyard, deputy leader and cabinet member for education and skills, said: “We’re absolutely committed to providing our primary children with a nutritious meal daily. I’m convinced by the very robust research that shows children are more attentive and focused on learning if they get nutritious food at lunchtime.”