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Newington community primary school in Ramsgate offers free meals to all its pupils from September

By Peter Barnett
Newington school chef Ann Griffiths busy at work in the kitchens
Newington school chef Ann Griffiths busy at work in the kitchens

Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate is thought to be the first in Kent to be offering free school meals to all its pupils.

Children of all age groups will receive nutritious and balanced meals prepared by on-site kitchen staff every day from September when the new school year begins.

Head teacher Cliff Stokes explained: “Official research and evidence clearly shows that daily nutritious meals at lunchtime improves learning, putting pupils who receive these meals between six to eight weeks ahead in their studies in a school year over those who do not have these meals.

“For us that is excellent evidence and we are the first school in the county to offer free meals. We have quite a few families who are just above the threshold for receiving free meals for their children but who find it difficult to pay the £2.25 a day per child.

“Our scheme will cost around £20,000 but the benefits in improved learning and the knowledge that all our children will receive healthy school meals every day far outweighs the cost.”

Mr Stokes praised the “terrific work” of the school’s catering team that prepares and serves a varied menu of tasty food using locally sourced produce whenever possible. He added:” When our cook Ann Griffiths joined us seven years ago, her dream was for every boy and girl to benefit from a healthy school meal each day – from September her dream becomes a reality.”

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