Video: Schools Minister enjoys lunch with children at Plaistow school

09:42 21 July 2014

Schools Minister David Laws and Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales have lunch with schoolchildren of Tollgate Primary School.

Schools Minister David Laws and Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales have lunch with schoolchildren of Tollgate Primary School.


Schools Minister David Laws joined youngsters for lunch today at one of the schools in Newham which have enjoyed free meals for the last five years.

Schools Minister David Laws and Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales have lunch with schoolchildren of Tollgate Primary School.Schools Minister David Laws and Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales have lunch with schoolchildren of Tollgate Primary School.

Mr Laws, who was joined by Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales, visited Tollgate Primary school where almost 100 per cent of the children have free school meals.

He spoke to children about their meals in the run up to September 1 when the government will make free school dinners avialable to all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

Newham took part in a pilot in 2009 to provide free meals to all primary school children and continued to run the project despite the coalition government’s decision to cut funding.

Newham Council uses nearly £6 million of its own annual funds to deliver a programme across 67 primary schools. The Department for Education chose the Plaistow school because it was impressed with its key stage two results, at 90 per cent, which have also increased year on year.

A spokeswoman for the DfE said: “Newham is unique in that it’s a borough with a lot of disadvantaged families so they provide free school meals to every child at primary school. Universal infant free school meals being introduced in September will be for all children in the first three years of primary school but Newham clearly shows the benefit of providing free school meals.

“Positive eating habits help improve concentration and performance in the classroom so these new school food standards will continue to restrict unhealthy foods to ensure our children eat well.

“The evidence is overwhelming that we’ve got far too many kids, who are poor, but not receiving free school meals, who are not getting a good meal at lunchtime and are failing to concentrate in the afternoon. Their education is suffering, and their health is suffering as well, and they are often then on the early steps towards obesity.

”Sir Robin Wales Mayor of Newham said: “In Newham, over the last five years we have been delivering universal free school meals to all our primary school children not just those in the early years. We have continued to fund this initiative without Government’s help and in the face of savage cuts from the coalition Government because it provides vital support to all our children.

“I welcome the fact that the coalition Government has chosen to introduce a free school meals initiative for children in reception, Years 1 and 2 after scrapping the pilot without proper evidence. We hope the overly centralized approach that the coalition Government has taken - failing to provide schools with adequate levels of funding, or support to increase their capacity - does not end up failing the very children they have promised to help,” he added.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Firefighters are called out twice a day to Londoners trapped in the toilet

Going to the toilet is a fairly simple task for most people – that is, until you get locked in.

London Fire Brigade
Yesterday, 17:00
Glasshouse Gardens topping out ceremony

A year and a half on from when construction work began, the tallest block in Glasshouse Gardens has reached its peak.

Elizabeth Olympic
Yesterday, 12:00
Year 6 pupils in Newham are the fattest in London      Photo: Chris Radburn/PA

Nearly half of all children leaving primary school in the borough are overweight or obese, newly released figures show – the highest proportion in the capital.

Newham Council
Yesterday, 07:00
The Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales and the Young Mayor of Newham Alex Jarrett donate to the Christmas Toy Appeal

The Christmas Toy Appeal received a boost this week when not just one mayor but two handed over a selection of gifts.

Community Links

Most read news


Section Boys, Big Tipper, Big Narstie, Lady Leshurr, Trapstar, and UFest street team members

We’ve got 10 pairs of tickets to give away to watch some of the country’s best and brightest urban music talent at UFest, London’s official youth festival.

Read more
MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Read more

Digital Edition

Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder