Free school meals plan will help more pupils, heads say

Too many children from low-income families are missing out on free school meals, say heads.


Head teachers are urging MPs to back a plan to ensure all children from poorer homes are automatically registered for free school meals.


Parents often fail to apply for the meals for older pupils, says the National Association of Head Teachers.


The NAHT wants MPs to add a clause on auto-registration to a bill being debated on Monday.


Ministers said they did not believe that the proposed amendment was necessary "at this stage".


But NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said it would ensure "more children get the support they are entitled to".


Until 2014 families had to apply for their children to have free school meals, which were open only to the most disadvantaged groups.


That year, the coalition government introduced universal free school meals for all children in reception, Year 1 and Year 2.


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