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Last Updated: Monday, 19 April, 2004, 20:19 GMT 21:19 UK
Free dinners for primary pupils
School dinners - generic
Burgers were banned from school menus earlier this year
Pupils at 15 primary schools in Hull have received their first free school meals.

Hull City Council hopes the three-year project will encourage children to develop healthy eating habits.

Earlier this year, unhealthy foods such as burgers were banned from the schools, but that resulted in more pupils taking packed lunches from home.

Now the menus have been altered to make the healthy choises more appetising.

Positive effect

Head teacher of Stepney Primary School, in Hull, Amraz Ali said he understood the difficulty some parents had in trying to get their children to eat healthily.

"I think the school has a vital role to play in presenting children with options and choices.

"And one of those options and choices is having a healthy meal at lunchtime."

Paula Feetam, a dinner lady at MacMillan Nursery School, told BBC Look North the healthy food was already having a positive effect on pupils.

"When they've had something healthy to eat they can concentrate better, they've got a lot more energy and they're a lot more active."

Long term investment

The 1.7m scheme has been criticised by opposition parties who say it will lead to cuts in the council's budget.

But the council says it is part of its strategy to solve longstanding issues in health and education.

Helen McMullen, who is in charge of learning at the council, said they hoped to be able to extend the scheme to every primary school in the city by the end of the year.

"This is part of our education policy."

"It's joining up education, health and social policy to tackle issues across the city.

"Investing in children now is seen as a long term investment in the city in the future."


SEE ALSO:
Free school meals plan approved
09 Mar 04  |  Humber
Pupils promised free school meals
13 Feb 04  |  Education


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