The Camden New Journal has published a front page splash on my research that Camden’s secondary school pupils are missing out on more free school meals than anywhere else in the country. Almost half of free school meals in Camden are not eaten: three times as many as in neighbouring Conservative-run Westminster.
Free school meals are worth almost £900 a year to a family with two children. If they’re missing out on them, that can put a huge strain on the finances of our borough’s poorest households.
What’s more, it severely undermines their school performance. Eating school meals is shown to improve concentration and discipline, and ultimately lead to better academic performance.
Not only are pupils from poor households in Westminster one-third as likely to miss free school meals than those in Camden are, but they get almost a grade better results on average.
That’s a huge advantage that we’re missing out on. Yet despite repeated prompting by me, Camden’s administration has done nothing about it, and just keeps letting down our kids.