Fall in school meals uptake but borough still top of table

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MORE children are eating school meals in Doncaster than anywhere else in Yorkshire, according to official figures - but the figure has fallen for the borough.

A total of 58.6 per cent of children were eating a school dinner in the borough, compared to the next highest in the county, Kirklees, where the total was 53 per cent.

Sheffield was the lowest with 38 per cent.

Nationally out of 128 authority results published only 15 have a higher uptake than Doncaster for primary schools. But the Doncaster figure is down 2.2 per cent on last year, after a 20p rise in the cost in April to £1.70 for a primary meal and £1.80 for a secondary meal.

Several councils are currently trialling a scheme giving free school meals for all nursery and primary pupils. In terms of secondary schools, Doncaster came 20th out of 109 authorities nationally.

Coun Mark Thompson, Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for finance and corporate services, environment, trading and support services, commented that 122 out of 134 Doncaster schools use the town service – that’s 91 per cent: “The secret of our success is hard work and wholesome local produce. This also helps support local Doncaster businesses.

“We continue to work hard to deliver a catering service dedicated to offering every pupil a meal that is healthy and of high quality, whilst offering good value for money. We also support families on low incomes with free school meals.”

School Food Trust Chairman, Rob Rees, said: “When children eat better, they do better - so good food at school is an investment in children’s learning and their health.”