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Pupils at York primary school get free lunches in pilot

School dinner
The council has set up a community fund to pay for the free school meals pilot

All children at a primary school in York are to receive free school meals as part of a pilot project.

Meals will be provided to Westfield Primary pupils and if extra funding is approved, all students at Burton Green Primary will be given breakfast.

The plan is part of a council pledge to "start the journey to becoming an anti-poverty city within a decade".

Westfield Primary's head teacher said it meant every child got "at least one good quality, hot meal each day."

Lamara Taylor added: "Good nutrition is an essential part of health and wellbeing.

"As a school, we are committed to ensuring all children can focus on learning, rather than being hungry."

The City of York Council has contributed £100,000 to the pilot and has asked local organisations to contribute to a fund to raise an additional £30,000 to enable it to run throughout 2024.

'Deliver as much as we can'

Councillor Bob Webb, executive member for children, young people and education, said: "Young people in York really struggle because of the cost-of-living crisis and we are supporting our most vulnerable first.

"It's a fantastic moment for the city and we hope it's the beginning of a bigger process over time."

The community pot funding model was chosen because of the council's financial problems. The Labour-run authority is currently forecast to overspend by £11.1m this year and council needs to save £40m by spring 2027, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Mr Webb added: "We've got partners who are clearly supporting that [community fund].

"Obviously it's going to develop over time and it will be whatever the city makes of it.

"We are going to do what we can to deliver as much as we can to as many young people as we can."

Since September 2014, state funded schools in England have been required by law to provide free lunches to pupils in reception, Year 1 and Year 2, who are not otherwise entitled to benefits-related free school meals.

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