Almost 50% of Exeter Children in poverty missing out on free school meals, charity says
An estimated 1,400 Exeter children living in poverty miss out on free school meals, a children’s charity has said today.
The results show that 44% of Exeter children in poverty are missing out on the free meals.
The news follows figures released by The Child Poverty campaign showing that more than 3,000 Exeter Children are living in poverty. See a map of the child poverty figures in Exeter here.
To find the number of children in poverty missing out on free school meals, The Children's Society subtracted the number of children registered for free school meals from the number of children in poverty in the constituency.
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The report claims to show that more than half of the 2.2 million schoolchildren living in poverty miss out on a free school lunch.
The charity says that often children miss out on the free meals because their parents work over a specified number of hours a week.
According to the figures the South West is one of the areas with the highest proportion of the children affected by the issue.
Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children's Society, said: "It is shocking that huge numbers of children in poverty across the country are missing out on a free school meal. Every child in poverty should be entitled to this vital support.
"We know from the families we work with up and down the country that parents are struggling to make ends meet. Right now, the government is reconsidering which children will be entitled to get free school meals.
"We urge the government to take this opportunity to make sure all children in poverty can get a free school meal."
A Department for Education spokesman said: "No child should go hungry at school - 1.3 million of the most disadvantaged children currently claim a free, nutritious meal at school every day. Some schools also provide breakfast clubs which offer free or subsidised meals to pupils from poorer families.
"We are committed to ensuring that free school meals continue to be available to the families who need them most. Local authorities and schools also share a responsibility to ensure that every eligible child in their area is signed up.
"In addition, the pupil premium, which will increase to £900 per pupil - £2.5bn a year - in 2014-15, targets extra money to ensure schools can provide support to the most disadvantaged children."