Lancashire school dinners increase in price for the first time in two years

Parents may see a small increase to the price of school dinners in the first rise for two years.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 3:56 pm
A child gets his dinner tray in the school hall, photo by: Marie Caley.

Lancashire County Council has confirmed that school dinners could increase in price for primary school children.

Schools set their own prices for school dinners but the council has recommended that they increase the price from £2.30 to £2.35 per meal due to higher costs.

This is the first increase in two years which is in line with inflation and will cover increased staffing costs due to a rise in the National Living Wage.

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A price increase did not take place in April 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Children entitled to free school meals, and those in the first three years of school who are part of the universal free meals offer for key stage one pupils, will not be affected as their meals are government funded.

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Nigel Craine, Lancashire County Council's head of schools and residential catering, said: "We've increased the cost to schools for our primary school meals from April 2021 in line with annual inflation.

"This is to cover increased staffing costs, such as the yearly increase in the National Living Wage.

"We did not increase costs in April 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, so this is the first increase in two years.

"Schools are free to set their own charges to parents, however, we have recommended that they increase the costs of their meals by 5 pence from £2.30 per meal to £2.35 per meal, which is comparable with the government funding rate of £2.34 for universal infant free school meals.

"This is superb value for money for our healthy meals."

St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Darkinson Lane is one of the schools affected.

Headteacher Mrs Arran Brogden said: “We have not increased the cost of meals for a considerable time and as the rising costs are passed on to us this small increase is unavoidable."

From June, meals at the school will increase in price from £2.20 per day to £2.35.

Pupils at the school once again enjoyed their meals and packed lunches with their class ‘bubbles’ in the school hall from April 26.

The council is 'fully committed' to sourcing its ingredients for school meals locally and all of its suppliers are located within 35 miles of Preston.

The catering service is also the largest local authority organisation under the Soil Association's Food for Life Served Here scheme.

Parents can also be assured that school dinner menus in Lancashire are accredited by Sugarwise for having a reduced sugar content.

More information about eligibility for free school meals can be found at the gov.uk website here.

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