MP backs ‘free lunch for poorest students’ call

DEARNE MP John Healey is backing a campaign to give free meals to the poorest college students.

It would benefit one in five 16-18-year-olds – nearly 300 – in the Wentworth and Dearne constituency who are eligible for free lunches at school but not when they go on to college.

Young people who continue their education in sixth forms, academies and free schools are still able to claim the meals.

Mr Healey said: “Eligibility for free meals should be based on need, not on where you decide to study.

“There is an even greater need for this help now the government has scrapped the EMA, which I know a lot of young people in our area relied on to help them get to and from college and to eat when they were there.

“Without it some students are going hungry and struggling to concentrate in class, putting their education at risk and affecting their life chances.”

Mr Healey has written to the Education Secretary Michael Gove asking him to consider extending free lunches to the poorest college students.

Young people eligible for free school meals are more likely to go to college than a school sixth form.

Dearne Valley College estimate that a quarter of their students would be eligible for free lunches.

The No Free Lunch campaign is supported by the National Union of Students, University and College Union, Association of Colleges and Unison.