YOUNG VOICES

Young People Bullied Over Free School Meals Are Highlighting A Vital Aspect Of Labour's New Pledge

'I found it too embarrassing handing in my token, so I didn't eat.'

06/04/2017 15:25

Pupils have come out in support of Labour’s free school meals pledge, saying the stigma around the current scheme is so bad they would skip lunch. 

Jeremy Corbyn announced today that every primary school child would receive free school meals if Labour was voted into government in 2020, with VAT from private school fees used to fund the scheme. 

The move has split opinion, with some critics slamming the move as “frivolous”, arguing that many families can afford to pay for school meals. 

Hannah Mckay / Reuters
Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to provide free school meals for primary school children if Labour is elected in 2020 

But dozens of people who were bullied at school for “being poor” have taken to social media to defend the Labour leader’s promise to “remove the stigma” around free meals.

“Had free school meals throughout school,” one woman wrote on Twitter. 

“Found it too embarrassing handing my token in each day, so at secondary school I didn’t eat.”  

Writing in a blog on the Huffington Post UK, primary school headteacher Louise Regan said: “It is unacceptable that thanks to the choices of this government, 700,000 children in poverty are not entitled to free school meals, and even of those that are entitled, many don’t claim them because of fear of teasing by other pupils.

“Universal provision will help address this by making sure every child gets a healthy meal and removing the stigma of receiving free school meals.

Regan added: “Today’s policy will make a real difference to the lives of countless numbers of children.” 

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