Newham sees highest rise in number of children needing free school meals in England, figures show

children having school lunch

Newham saw the number of children entitled to a school meal rise 37 per cent from 12,654 in 2019/20 to 17,348 in 2020/21, according to the Department for Education (DfE). - Credit: PA

Newham has seen the highest increase in the number of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) in England, figures show.

The borough saw the number of children entitled to a free meal rise from 12,654 in 2019/20 to 17,348 in 2020/21 - an increase of 37 per cent -  according to the Department for Education (DfE).

This compares to 24pc and 14pc rises in neighbouring Barking and Dagenham and Tower Hamlets respectively.

In Newham, every child in primary school has the opportunity to have a free lunch, even if their parents or carers do not receive one of the qualifying benefits.

Of Newham's schools, Langdon Academy in East Ham has the highest number of youngsters eligible (702).


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It ranks seventh out of 11,291 schools nationally with 50 or more pupils who could take advantage of the scheme in 2020/21, the figures show.

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Bobby Moore Academy saw the highest percentage increase in the number of pupils eligible for FSM in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20.

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There were 127 pupils eligible in 2019/20, but this rocketed 98pc to 251 in 2020/21.

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