HL Deb 28 June 1978 vol 394 c368WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will publish the numbers and percentage of pupils taking school dinners, the number and proportion taking free school dinners together with an estimate of the take-up rate of free school dinners for January 1978; and whether they will also provide comparable figures for the October and January of each year since 1974.

The MINISTER of STATE, DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION and SCIENCE (Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge)

In January 1978, 5.0 million pupils in maintained schools in England, 64.3 per cent. of those present, took school dinners. Of these, 1.1 million pupils, representing 14.2 per cent. of those present, received dinners free of charge. The latest available estimate of take-up is that in 1976 (December) about 80 per cent. of those entitled to free school meals were taking them. Comparable school meals census figures since 1974 are as follows (there being no January censuses before 1977):—

Taking school dinners Receiving free school dinners
pupil numbers (millions) as % of those present pupil numbers (millions) as % of those present
October 1974… 5.4 70.2 0.70 9.0
October 1975… 5.6 70.3 0.73 9.2
October 1976… 5.5 69.4 0.78 9.8
January 1977… 5.5 70.3 0.80 10.1
October 1977… 4.9 61.7 0.93 11.8

House adjourned at ten minutes before six o'clock.