Food Matters listened to primary school children to discover their relationship with the universal infant free school meals programme.

The universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) programme was set up to improve children’s ability to concentrate and learn. It aims to ensure children have access to a healthy meal each day and help families with the cost of living.

School meal providers were interested in incorporating the children’s voice into the appraisal of the UIFSM programme. We used a participatory approach to understand the children’s relationship with the UIFSM programme and their lunch break. This included hearing their experience of the dining room, the time they ate, the school kitchen and the food. The broad approach of this session meant that pupils who did not eat lunches provided by the school could still participate.

The sessions were visual, fun and interactive and helped children explore their experience of lunch and what was important to them.

We learnt a lot!  Whilst the food that was provided was important to the children, the way in which the food was served and the atmosphere of the dining room was equally, if not more, significant.

The children recognised the benefits of food choice at lunchtime but what was more prominent were the social structures around where they had to sit, queuing and the social benefits of packed lunch vs school meal.

Rose Vouchers | Consultation, Evaluation _ Facilitation

“UIFSM has greatly boosted the uptake of free school meals for key stage 1 students from 34 per cent of students in a given week, to 80 per cent!”

Jocelyn Levy, Iris.co.uk

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Download the evaluation report below.

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