HC Deb 22 March 1971 vol 814 cc58-9W
Mr. Armstrong

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many pupils in maintained schools in the Northern Region were in receipt of school meals at the latest count, and what percentage of the total received free meals.

Mr. van Straubenzee

At the latest count, on a day in September, 1970, 68 per cent. of the pupils in attendance took the school meal. Of these, 18.5 per cent. received them free.

Mr. McNamara

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will issue a circular to local education authorities to the effect that head teachers should not refuse to accept two and a halfpenny pieces when offered by pupils as part of the price of a school meal; and if she will ensure that any combination of old and new coins which are at present legal tender and amount to the correct price for a dinner should be accepted.

Mrs. Thatcher

I offered general advice in a circular last month to local education authorities on the subject of old and new currency tendered in payment for school meals, and I see no need to add to it. The 6d. (2½p) piece is legal tender, and I know of no good reason why schools should refuse to accept it. The same applies to combinations of old and new currency which amount to the correct price for the meal.

Mr. Bishop

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in view of the increasing numbers of children who will not be taking school dinners following the increased charges proposed to come into force soon, she will make a greater allocation of resources for sandwich courses in educational establishments.

Mrs. Thatcher

In a circular issued last month I asked local education authorities and schools to make all reasonable efforts, within the resources available to them, to ensure that children who bring sandwiches to school are enabled to eat them in suitable conditions.