Halifax head asks Rishi Sunak to look his pupils in the eye 'and tell them you can't afford to feed them' as union calls for free school meals for all

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A Halifax head has voiced his support for a campaign for all primary school-aged kids to get free school meals.

Matt Perry, the headteacher at Halifax Academy, has urged the Prime Minister to extend the current scheme to include all children in the country’s primary school.

He said: “Students shouldn’t have to put up with a second-rate life, just because of a postcode or any other demographic they’re part of.

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“I would say to the Prime Minister ‘I would like you to come to my school. I would like you to look the children in the eye and tell them that you can’t afford to feed them’.”

Pupils at Halifax AcademyPupils at Halifax Academy
Pupils at Halifax Academy

One of the school’s teachers Glynn Eastwood added: “If you put healthy food into children, you are changing lives positively for the next 80 years.”

And another teacher Fiona Black said: “As schools, we have a designated duty to look after children in school time and that should be included in the food that we provide for them.

“Children are going to be the next leaders, they’re going to be the change makers. Why are we not giving them the best food while they’re in school to be able to have the best education?

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Halifax Academy has a host of food projects aimed at making sure all its children and their families are fed.

Halifax Academy Head Matt PerryHalifax Academy Head Matt Perry
Halifax Academy Head Matt Perry

They include a community kitchen run by a team of volunteers using surplus, seasonal and budget recipes to create up to 500 meals per week.

There is also a school garden, fruit and veg vouchers issued to more than 1,000 people since September and been a redevelopment of food tech lessons.

This week saw the National Education Union’s (NEU) No Child Left Behind campaign spearheading a week of action calling for the extension of free school meals to all children in primary schools in England.

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Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the union, said: “ As teachers, support staff and school leaders, NEU members see first-hand the difference a hot, healthy free school meal can make to children in the classroom.

"It helps them concentrate and engage better in their lessons – but more importantly it helps them feel happier and more secure in school.”

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