As children across Northamptonshire prepare to go back to school, parents of Key Stage 1 pupils are being encouraged to register online for free school meals.
Under new legislation announced by the Government last year, known as Universal Infant Free School Meals, all pupils in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 across Northamptonshire can receive a free hot lunch at school from September.
Northamptonshire County Council’s school meal service Nourish currently provides meals in 176 of the county’s 244 primary schools, and parents with a child at one of these schools are being invited to activate a ParentPay account to order their child’s meal online.
Cllr Robin Brown, county council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “As parents turn their attention to buying new uniforms and school shoes ahead of the new term, we want them to also think about ordering their child’s free school meals.
“This programme is a fantastic opportunity for children in Key Stage 1 to benefit from a free nutritious, healthy lunch at school, while helping families to save money on their food bills.
“Research shows that children who receive a hot meal at lunchtime perform better in the classroom, while the balanced meals provided by Nourish will also help to address the growing problem of childhood obesity, with almost 20% of pupils being classed as obese by the time they leave primary school.
“What’s more, schools that can demonstrate a high take-up of free school meals can benefit from additional Government funding.
“That’s why we’re urging parents to act now and activate an online ParentPay account as part of their back to school preparations.”
To activate a ParentPay account and order school meals online with the activation letter from school, visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/schoolmeals.
Parents whose children will start school in September will receive an activation letter when the new term begins.
For parents whose child’s school does not use Nourish, they should speak directly to the school to sign up for school meals.