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Free meals boost pupil performance

27/07/2012 Joanna
Those in teaching jobs are likely to be encouraged by new figures showing that free school meals (FSM) can help children improve their performance in class.

A report into three FSM pilots compiled by the National Centre for Social Research, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Bryson Purdon Social Research found that primary pupils made between four and eight weeks' more progress than might have been expected.

They found this effect was greatest among those from poorer backgrounds and those who previously had been performing badly.

However, the researchers said the reasons for these improvements were not yet clear. They were also keen to stress that supporting activities and not just the free meals themselves played an important role.

"These findings are serious food for thought," commented School Food Trust chief executive Judy Hargadon.

"What's particularly interesting is that researchers say the impact on attainment seemed be strongest among those from lower income backgrounds, and those who weren't doing so well at school before."

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801417096-ADNFCR
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