Delivering free school meals: Research study offers lessons learned and things to avoid

Flaws in the way free school meals are delivered in schools and a number of lessons learned have been identified after a research project led by disadvantaged students themselves.
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The study (Connolly et al, 2023) shows that children receiving FSM can often struggle to get fruit and vegetables and can be disadvantaged by the “meal deal” approach used by many schools.

The research was conducted by 42 students aged 11 to 15 from seven secondary schools across Yorkshire. The findings have been published by the Food Foundation and University of York as part of Yorkshire’s FixOurFood programme.

The students were asked to spend only their FSM allowance each day for a week. They had to try and buy the healthiest options possible.

The research also considered how sustainable the schools’ lunchtime operations were, including in terms of waste and recycling.

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