YOUNGSTERS in East Sussex will be offered free meals for a day as part of a national campaign to promote the healthy benefits of eating at school.
Primary school children across the county are eligible for a free school meal on Tuesday, November 5 (Thursday, November 7 for schools in Lewes), as part of National School Meals Week.
To enable their child to claim their free meal, parents are asked to complete a survey being handed out by schools asking them to offer feedback on the service provided by Chartwells, East Sussex County Council’s school meals provider.
Around 38 per cent of schoolchildren of all ages in East Sussex currently eat school meals, but education chiefs hope the free offer will encourage more parents to allow their children to sample the delights on offer.
Cllr Nick Bennett, county council lead member for learning and school effectiveness, said: “More and more parents are realising the benefits of school meals both in terms of health and children’s performance at school.
“A healthy, well-balanced school meal at lunchtime can have a huge impact on energy levels and concentration, giving children the best chance of performing well in the classroom as well as enjoying a healthy life.
“We’d urge parents to take advantage of this free offer and we think once children try something different they will abandon the packed lunch.”
Earlier this year, the new menu dished up to youngsters in East Sussex schools was awarded a bronze award under the Food For Life Catering Mark scheme, which recognises fresh, healthy food.
Around 17,000 primary and secondary age children in East Sussex currently receive school meals, although this is likely to increase significantly following the Government’s announcement of universal free school meals for infants from September next year.
More information is available online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/schoolmeals