Free school meals: What can the UK learn from Portugal’s model?

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Before the Covid-19 pandemic, over 4.2 million children in Britain were living in relative poverty. Since then, this figure has increased by 200,000 (McNeil et al., 2020). Rising levels of food insecurity among families mean the school lunch is often children’s main meal of the day. But while school meals can mitigate some of the direct effects of poverty on children’s diets, too often this potential is unrealised. In this blog for the British Educational Research Association (BERA), drawing on the Families and Food in Hard Times research, we argue that the UK can learn much from Portugal and, given our relative wealth, we can go further. Nutritious school meals should be routinely provided free for all children throughout compulsory schooling, without stigma or means testing. Read the full article on the BERA Blog.

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