No free meals at 48 schools

‘Su­per hub’ should be run­ning soon

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo- Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­

FORTY-EIGHT schools did not pro­vide free hot meals at the start of term, ac­cord­ing to the county coun­cil.

From this term, all four to seven-year-olds in state­funded in­fant schools in Eng­land are en­ti­tled to a free hot lunch un­der plans an­nounced by deputy prime min­is­ter Nick Clegg.

But Bucks has not been able to in­tro­duce the pro­gramme ev­ery­where, with almost one-third of 167 el­i­gi­ble schools miss­ing out. Deputy cab­i­net mem­ber for ed­u­ca­tion and skills Bill Bendyshe-Brown said Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil aims to have the re­main­ing 48 in­volved next month.

He added when the pol­icy was an­nounced 66 schools in Bucks had no pro­vi­sion to pro­vide hot meals. The £1.3mil­lion grant was ‘not enough’ for Bucks to set up a suf­fi­cient num­ber of hubs and satel­lites in time for the start of the new term.

Lit­tle Spring, in Green­way, Che­sham, was one of the schools un­able to make the change, as its kitchen is not big enough.

Of­fice man­ager An­nie Frite said: “It has been a dif­fi­cult tran­si­tion. Our old sup­plier has stopped pro­vid­ing for us and the new one can only pro­vide cold meals at the mo­ment.

“We have done our best

It’s great to pro­vide the

free, hot nu­tri­tious meal, but it does mean more work and plan­ning”

but it is go­ing to be a strug­gle, it is early days.

“We don’t know when we will be able to have hot food yet.”

Twenty schools opted to find their own so­lu­tion, de­spite the coun­cil cre­at­ing a ‘su­per hub’, due to be ready by half-term, with the ca­pac­ity to pro­vide about 5,000 meals a day.

St Joseph’s Catholic Pri­mary, in Chal­font St Peter, pro­vides hot meals for seven schools and cold lunches for another.

Chef Paul Jef­ferys said: “It is hard, we have had to set up a mar­quee to make sure we have room to work, and lo­gis­ti­cally we have had to plan this ever since it was an­nounced.

“Some schools don’t have fa­cil­i­ties. It’s great to pro­vide the free, hot nu­tri­tious meal, but it does mean more work and plan­ning.” POLITI­CIANS in the House of Com­mons re­ceived a les­son on HS2 from the Bucks Ex­am­iner on Tues­day.

MP for Che­sham and Amer­sham, Ch­eryl Gil­lan, waved the news­pa­per in front of her col­leagues as she talked about the con­tro­ver­sial project dur­ing a de­bate.

Mrs Gil­lan used last week’s head­line ‘HS2 wi cost the Chilterns £170m’ to il­lus­trate how the train line is still a con­tentious topic among our read­ers.

The new re­port re­vealed the scale of the eco­nomic im­pact which HS2 could have on the Chilterns, claim­ing the es­ti­mated cost to the area will be at least £170.4m.

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