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12th Jan 2021

The shocking disparity between school meals at private and state schools

The Department of Education is investigating after children in state and private schools received very different free school meals

The Department of Education is investigating

Children in state and private schools seem to be receiving very different school meal packages.

Under the free school meals scheme, which was extended by the government last year after a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, families are entitled to vouchers worth £30 to purchase food.

However, food packages have replaced the £30 vouchers previously given to families. Many believe the value of the food included in these packages (and subsequently given to children at state schools) does not amount to £30.

Twitter user @RoadsideMum shared images of the state school package, with which she is expected to feed her family for 10 days. She estimated the total cost at £5.22.

One of the companies awarded a government contract to supply free school meals appears to be providing very different packages for children in state and private schools.

Chartwells UK are responsible for free school meal packages, and the company has said it has launched an investigation after photos of the paltry offerings circulated online.

The company has said the food depicted in the state school package does not “reflect the specification of one of our hampers”.

When compared to the package offered to private schools, the menu is starkly different.

Chartwells Independent cater for private schools and are the sister company of Chartwells UK.

On the company’s Instagram account, you’ll see high-quality gourmet food being prepared exclusively for private schools. The food includes a selection of canapés, bouillabaisse and salmon wrapped in coconut, lemongrass and banana leaf.

Multiple other examples of the food supplied, shared by Rashford from his Twitter account, show that a number of families around the country have received the same quantity of food in their packages.

The government has said it is investigating.