Hundreds of extra staff have been taken on in Lancashire to help roll out the Government’s new free school meals initiative.
The plan, to provide every infant with a hot meal at lunchtime, has led to the creation of around 200 posts and also seen almost as many school kitchens upgraded to cope with the expected demand.
Though some have still to be kitted out with equipment such as pots and pans.
The cost of implementing the new measures is being met by the Government but schools say they have no idea yet how many of the county’s 40,000 plus four to seven year olds will take up the offer of a free lunch as many schools operate a phased admission process for new starters.
Roger Eakhurst, Lancashire County Council’s assistant director responsible for school catering, said it had been a “challenge” to ensure schools can provide free meals for all Lancashire’s 40,500 infants but everything is on target.
He added operations managers spent months working with schools to help them get read and said: “We’ve been hard at work on nearly 200 projects, funded by the government, mostly to upgrade kitchens, but also installing large equipment and in a few cases a full new kitchen.”“Children usually eat in the dining room whether eating hot school lunches or their own packed lunches and although dining rooms will be busier, most schools will continue to operate the same lunchtime routines as before”
Mr Eakhurst said LCC had already adopted the new national menu planning standards ahead of schedule.”