Wiltshire

Wiltshire school unable to provide free school meals to pupils

A primary school in Wiltshire is unable to offer free school meals to infants because it says it cannot afford to provide them.

The government has introduced a policy to give all pupils at infant schools in England free lunches from September.

But St Thomas a Becket School in Tilshead has no kitchen facilities and cannot afford to have food delivered.

Headteacher Alison Trickey said the school would have to spend up to £10,000 on the service.

She said: "Our budget this year has been reduced by about £20,000 because of the new funding formula, so actually I'm spending about £2,000 more than I've got coming in already.

"I have made cuts in every single area apart from teaching staff and we're not prepared to reduce staffing hours to provide free school lunches."

The Children's Food Trust has been commissioned by the Department for Education to help implement the free school meals policy across the country.

A spokesman said an advisor would be visiting the school "in the next week" to assist them in resolving the issue.

Wiltshire Council says six schools across the county do not currently have an "affordable solution" to provide free school meals by September.

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