THE price of school meals for thousands of schoolchildren in Hampshire has also been frozen for the fourth year running.
Councillor Roy Perry, chief of children’s services at the county council, has pegged the price at £2 for both primary and secondary schools for the next 12 months.
He said: “I am mindful we are living in difficult economic times, so I hope this news is welcomed by parents. The high take-up has enabled us to hold the price for the fourth year in a row and in my view these meals represent excellent value for money.”
Hampshire school catering chiefs say take-up has improved steadily year-on-year and has now reached a record high. More than four out of 10 primary pupils (41 per cent) have a school meal five days of the week.
Food and other catering costs have risen, but a larger take-up means it is possible to make economies of scale. The service is not subsidised and usually makes a profit.
Catering chiefs say school meals play a vital part in child nutrition and teaching healthy eating while helping to tackle child obesity. Well-fed children are also more likely to concentrate in the classroom, boosting educational achievement.
In Hampshire, chips are still on the menu once a week but there are also roast dinners twice a week, chilli meatballs, home-made pizza and fish on Fridays. Vegetarian choices include sweet potato and lentil curry and Italian tomato pasta.